A “Black” Man, A Moor, John Hanson was the First President of the United States! 1781-1782 A.D. George
Washington was really the 8th President of the United States! George Washington was not the first President of
the United States. In fact, the first President of the United States was one John Hanson. Don’t go checking the
encyclopedia for this guy’s name – he is one of those great men that are lost to history. If you’re extremely lucky,
you may actually find a brief mention of his name. The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with
the adoption of The Articles of Confederation. This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but not
agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777. Maryland refused to sign this document until Virginia and
New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid that these states would gain too much power in the
new government from such large amounts of land). Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed
to run the country. John Hanson was chosen unanimously by Congress (which included George Washington). In
fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against him, as he was a major player in the revolution and
an extremely influential member of Congress. As the first President, Hanson had quite the shoes to fill. No one had
ever been President and the role was poorly defined. His actions in office would set precedent for all future
He took office just as the Revolutionary War ended. Almost immediately, the troops demanded to be paid. As
would be expected after any long war, there were no funds to meet the salaries. As a result, the soldiers
threatened to overthrow the new government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch.
All the members of Congress ran for their lives, leaving Hanson as the only guy left running the government.
He somehow managed to calm the troops down and hold the country together. If he had failed, the government
would have fallen almost immediately and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington. In fact, Hanson
sent 800 pounds of sterling siliver by his brother Samuel Hanson to George Wasington to provide the troops with
Hanson, as President, ordered all foreign troops off American soil, as well as the removal of all foreign flags.
This was quite the feat, considering the fact that so many European countries had a stake in the United States
since the days following Columbus.
Hanson established the Great Seal of the United States, which all Presidents have since been required to use on
all official documents. President Hanson also established the first Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War,
and the first Foreign Affairs Department. Lastly, he declared that the fourth Thursday of every November was to be
Thanksgiving Day, which is still true today. The Articles of Confederation only allowed a President to serve a one
year term during any three year period, so Hanson actually accomplished quite a bit in such little time. Six other
presidents were elected after him – Elias Boudinot (1783), Thomas Mifflin (1784), Richard Henry Lee (1785),
Nathan Gorman (1786), Arthur St. Clair (1787), and Cyrus Griffin (1788) – all prior to Washington taking office.
So what happened? Why don’t we ever hear about the first seven Presidents of the United States? It’s quite simple –
The Articles of Confederation didn’t work well. The individual states had too much power and nothing could be
agreed upon. A new doctrine needed to be written – something we know as the Constitution.
And that leads us to the end of our story. George Washington was definitely not the first President of the
United States. He was the first President of the United States under the Constitution we follow today. And the
first seven Presidents are forgotten in history. Another reason the two dollar bill is no longer in circulation