U.S. Presidents (Just For Fun)

Dragon Drop

Please note: These dates and other details are based on some Internet research that I did (just for fun) several years ago. Different sources don't always agree exactly on these things, so you may find information elsewhere that conflicts with this, especially on fine points such as the exact dates.

So, Donald Trump will be the 45th U.S. President. Right?

Well, there have always been some trivia buffs claiming that, technically, there were other "presidents" before George Washington. The present United States government began on 4 March 1789, and Washington became President on 30 April. But the U.S. Senate convened on 6 April, with John Adams as its president, so in effect he was the nation's "leader" then; and the House of Representatives had started on 1 April, led by Fred Muhlenberg. And that government evolved out of the Philadelphia Convention of 25 May 1787, which was chaired by Alexander Hamilton; it in turn had sprung from the Annapolis Convention of 14 September 1786, led by James Madison. So all of those guys were "leaders" of the United States before Washington.

But all that was only the second U.S government -- the Republic. What about the first government -- the Confederation? It existed as the "Confederation of States" from 15 November 1777. Before that, it was the "States of America" (28 June 1776); before that, it was the "United Colonies of North America" (21 July 1775); before that, it was the "Continental Association" (18 October 1774); and before that, it was the "Continental Congress" (5 September 1774). It had its own series of presidents from 1774 to 1789, beginning with Henry Middleton (elected 22 October 1774). At the time that the states declared independence from England, the president was John Hancock (elected 24 May 1775). Some people have argued that John Hanson (elected 5 November 1781) should be counted as the first President, because he was the first to be elected after the states ratified the Articles of Confederation. Of course, the duties of all those "presidents" consisted of little more than presiding over the sessions of the Confederation congress (i.e. "All those in favor, say aye!" etc); but it was in session almost continuously throughout that period, so those were more than just occasional duties.

There were also a few other "leaders" here and there. Benjamin Franklin began the formation of the Confederation government on 21 July 1775. The original Continental Congress had grown out of the "Virginia Convention" of 1 August 1774, which was convened by the "Virginia Association"; its president was Peyton Randolph. That body had evolved from a group of dissidents that formed within the Virginia House of Burgesses -- one of the colonial legislatures that were set up by the King's colonial governors. The dissident group's leader at its first meeting, in May of 1774, was Thomas Jefferson. There had even been a preliminary meeting about a year before that, which was led by Patrick Henry.

So, if (just for fun) you count as "presidents" all those who chaired the Confederation congress, plus all the other guys I've mentioned here, then the list of "presidents" up to Washington would look like this:

May 1773 Patrick Henry
May 1774 Thomas Jefferson
May 1774 Peyton Randolph
22-10-74 Henry Middleton
24-05-75 John Hancock
21-07-75 Benjamin Franklin
29-10-77 Charles Thomson
01-11-77 Henry Laurens
10-12-78 John Jay
28-09-79 Samuel Huntington
10-07-81 Thomas McKean
05-11-81 John Hanson
04-11-82 Elias Boudinot
03-11-83 Daniel Carroll
14-12-83 Thomas Mifflin
30-11-84 Richard Henry Lee
23-11-85 David Ramsay
15-05-86 Nathaniel Gorham
14-09-86 James Madison
02-02-87 Arthur St Clair
25-05-87 Alexander Hamilton
22-01-88 Cyrus Griffin
16-11-88 Charles Thomson
01-04-89 Fred Muhlenberg
06-04-89 John Adams
30-04-89 George Washington

So, by that reckoning, Patrick Henry would be the first "president"; John Hancock would be the 5th; John Hanson would be the 12th; George Washington would be the 26th; Abraham Lincoln would be the 41st; and Donald Trump will be number 70. But, like I say -- this is just for fun!

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Wow, with all those presidents, it's a wonder they didn't run out of wigs! Maybe that's why George Washington went for the natural look. And can you imagine how confusing it would be if we had to learn about all of those guys in school? I mean, I can barely remember the names of my own family members, let alone a bunch of people from centuries ago. But hey, at least we know that Donald Trump won't be the first president to lead this country. Unless, of course, we're talking about some alternate universe where Patrick Henry was a reality TV star...

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