Well, not exactly... http://www.snopes.com/history/american/hanson.asp

--- On Sat, 8/23/08, HOMER CONNELL <homerconnell@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
From: HOMER CONNELL <homerconnell@sbcglobal.net>
Subject: Who was the FIRST President ???
Date: Saturday, August 23, 2008, 11:37 AM



The EIGHT MISSING Presidents

I'm sure that George Washington was your best guess. After all, no 
one else comes to mind.

But think back to your history books - The United States Declared its 
independence in 1776, yet Washington did not take office until April 30,
1789. So who was running the country during these initial years of this 
young country?   It was the first eight U. S. Presidents.

In fact, the first President of the United States was one John Hanson. 
I can hear you now - John who? John Hanson, the first President of 
the United States . 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 Presidents.

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.

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.

Seven other presidents were elected after him -
1. Elias Boudinot (1782-83),
2. Thomas Mifflin (1783-84),
3. Richard Henry Lee (1784-85),
4. John Hancock (1785-86),
5. Nathan Gorman (1786-87), 
6. Arthur St. Clair (1787-88), and
7. Cyrus Griffin (1788-89) -
......all prior to Washington taking office.
So what happened?

Why don't we hear about the first eight presidents?  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 eight Presidents are forgotten in history.

(It took 8 years to establish a successful government. You might just 
remember this when you hear that so little progress has been made 
during these last 3 years in establishing a Government in Iraq.)

There you are, another lesson in U.S. History and you may have learned 
something new today.