Wednesday, February 9, 2011

John Hanson — Not Here for a Reason

Don't believe that David Rice Atchison belongs in the bracket because he was never technically president? Don't worry. We here at HttCttD drew the line somewhere, and that meant leaving out John Hanson, supposed first President of the United States.

"Did you know that George Washington wasn't the first President of the United States?"

I've heard this claim a few times before and you can read all about it here. Or I can just sum it up for you in one paragraph.

The United States declared independence from England in 1776 and George Washington became president in 1789. Who was president in those 13 years? Well, there were supposedly seven presidents before Washington under the Articles of Confederation, which was adopted in 1781. That year, John Hanson was made President of the Continental Congress. He served for a year, and was followed by six others before the U.S. Constitution was adopted.

So clearly, people who say that Washington was our first president are trying to ignore truths in history and all that.

That's what happens when you believe lame-stream history books

EXCEPT, let me repeat his title. President of the Continental Congress. NOT President of the United States. Just because he was a president in the United States, that doesn't make him a President of the United States.

The title President of the Continental Congress means exactly what it sounds like. He was the head of the Congress. Kind of like the Speaker of the House, only less important. Under the Articles of Confederation, there was no executive branch, so there was no president that ruled over the entire country.

A government with no executive branch? How well did that work?

Not well at all. The system was scrapped within a decade after a poor farmer led a rebellion in Massachusetts. Following Shay's Rebellion, George Washington came out of retirement and said that not having an executive branch is silly.

There's also the fact that Hanson wasn't even the first President of the Continental Congress. Oh, he was first after the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, but his title had been in existence since 1774, before the American Revolution even started.

Hanson was actually ninth. And it's not like his predecessors were a bunch of unknowns.

Oh yeah. The guy who presided over this Congress as it ratified
one of the most-important documents in our history.

So, not only was John Hanson never President of the United States, he wasn't even first to hold the presidential post that he did hold.

This helps to explain why Hanson is not included our tournament.

NOT ONLY are there people claiming that he was the first President of the United States. Some are saying that he was black.

Yes, the claim is that a black person from Maryland — a state that wouldn't abolish slavery for almost another century — was picked as a representative in the Continental Congress. And then, the delegates — many of whom owned slaves — picked this man to head that Congress.

There's also the logistical problem that he appears to be white in every single portrait.

Well, except for this one photograph.

Well, I'm sold. John Hanson was black.

Yes, this is a John Hanson, but not the same one. This Hanson was a senator in Liberia, a nation founded nearly 40 years after the other Hanson died.

Of course, there's also the fact that, like the nation of Liberia, photography didn't exist in the earlier Hanson's time.

So, next time someone tells you that the first President of the United States was actually black, and that they have photographic proof. Please dare them squeeze more fails into a single sentence.

Also, tell them that they have until Friday 9 a.m. to vote in the Eisenhower vs. Atchison fight, which can be found in the previous post.

1 comment:

  1. His title was actually President of the United States in Congress Assembled. And he wasn't even the first. Samuel Huntington was the proper first President upon passage of Articles. If you really want to get technical, John Hancock was the first President as he was President of the Continental Congress when we declared our Independence. Frankly you couldn't go wrong with adding the other pre-Constitution presidents. At that rate, you should also include Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Texas President Sam Houston and California President William B. Ide