John Hanson was the first president of the United States.

What, don't you believe me?!?

Hanson was born in Charles County, Maryland in 1721. In 1757, he was elected to Maryland's General Assembly, where he sat until 1779. In that year, Hanson, a fierce patriot and prominent rebel political leader, was elected to the Continental Congress as a Maryland delegate.

Most of you are probably aware that the current American government was not the United States' first attempt at centralized rule. The present Constitution was not adopted until 1789. Between 1781 and 1789, the 13 Articles of Confederation defined the powers of the United States of America's government. One of the articles stated that Congress could appoint one delegate "to preside" over the legislating. So, on November 5, 1781, John Hanson was elected to the office of "President of the United States in Congress Assembled." George Washington congratulated Hanson, stating that the seat was the "most important seat in the United States."

Of course, Hanson had none of the executive powers granted to the President by the Constitution, and his role was not to enforce the law. He merely presided over Congress. The individual states often ignored the laws passed by the Continental Congress, prompting the creation of the strong enforcement branch in the Constitution. During Hanson's one-year term, peace terms with Britain were drawn up, treaties were signed with foreign powers, and new government departments were created.

Seven men would fill this seat before George Washington, the man you most likely think of as the first president of the United States, was even elected.

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