George Washington was not the 1st President of the United States?

22 Sep

John_Hanson_Portrait_1770

This guy was. When my brother told me this recently, I swear I thought he was smoking crack. We had just gotten back from visiting James Madison’s home, Montpelier. And as we discussed Madison’s profound presidency and his influence over Washington, he throws out, “well you know, Washington wasn’t the first president.”

Now my brother has said some crazy shit before, but this time I was like, are you serious? (My brother is very paranoid and doesn’t trust the government and believes in many conspiracy theories.) Then he says, “You’ve never heard of John Hanson.”

“Who the hell is John Hanson?”

“The first president of the United States.”

“What’s wrong with you? Are you high? Um. It’s actually George Washington. You know the dude on the dollar bill.”

Then he googles John Hanson and bam! Tons of results proclaiming John Hanson as the first president of the U.S. Then he goes on to say there were actually seven presidents before George Washington took office. One guy actually served as president for a day.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And why wasn’t this in any of my history books. Basically, because George Washington became president after the Constitution and John Hanson and the other forgotten six presidents served before the Constitution.

John Hanson was the first president of Congress under the Articles of Confederation and for this reason, many regard him as our nation’s first President.The Articles of Confederation was our nation’s first constitution and set up the rules on how our government would run. It had tons of holes and was later replaced with the Constitution.

So this guy was allowed to sign official documents on behalf of our country. And he established the Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and the great seal of the United States that all Presidents today use on official documents. Sounds pretty much like he was a president, but wasn’t vocal enough to get recognition.

This is a great lesson in career recognition. Even if you stay late or bend over backwards to do your job, at the end of the day, if you don’t speak up and demand to be recognized, you probably won’t be. No one will ever be a better advocate for yourself and your worth than you. Don’t be like John Hanson who.

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