Was Washington the 1st, the 9th or maybe even 17th

By | Feb 4, 2008

It was in 1789 on February 4 that the United States Electoral College casted all 69 of their votes to elect George Washington as the first President under the United States Constitution. The Electoral College, although not called that by the constitution nor those casting their ballots, was established by Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 of the Constitution. The President’s salary was set at $ 25,000, a salary that Washington refused to accept.

While Washington was the first President of the United States as determined by the Constitution, some have claimed that he wasn’t the United States’s first President. There may be some truth of those claims.

From the inception of the Continental Congress, the leader of the Congress was called its President. Between the years of 1774, when the First Continental Congress met, until 1789, when the Constitution went into effect, there were 16 Presidents of the Continental Congress.

Two men were President of Congress twice. Peyton Randolph served as both the 1st and 3rd President. John Hancock, who was President of Congress when the Declaration of Independence was adopted, also served twice. Hancock was the 4th and served again as the 12th President.

John Hanson was the 9th President of the Continental Congress and was President when the Article of Confederation were ratified. It could be said that Hanson was actually the 1st President of the United States.

Eight men would serve as President of Congress under the Articles of Confederation. Hanson would be followed by Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, John Hancock, Nataniel Gorham, Arthur St. Clair and Cyrus Griffin

Depending on how you look at it, Washington could have been considered the 9th or even the 17th President of the United States. But no matter how you view it, Washington was the General who led his county to a victorious revolution, stepped aside to allow the people of the country rule themselves, only to be made their leader by unanimous vote and 8 years later stepped aside again.


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