by Stanley L. Klos
For A Complete Listing of US Constitutional Presidents go to Page Two.
The First Chapter of this "Online Book" gives a brief history of the American Presidency from 1774 to 1779 making the case that 10 men served as President of the United States in Congress Assembled before George Washington. Please understand that I am only advocating these men be recognized for what they are, Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled and not displace George Washington as "The Father of Our Country". I am trying not to re-write history but right it.
The following chapters in this work are brief biographies on each of the Continental Congress and United States in Congress Assembled Presidents with autographs, letters and key Historical Documents from their Presidency. Adolf Hitler once maintained
"One is able to win people far more by the spoken than the written word, as the greatest changes in this world have never been brought about by the goose quill!"
Wrong! It has been the written word (Bible, Koran, Magna Carte, Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, etc.) that has changed and continues to revolutionize the world. It was prudent, therefore, to include photographs of the actual primary letters and documents that formed the foundation of the United States of America throughout this book.
In 1999 these biographies were just edits of Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography to complement the historic ephemera in my Rebels With A Vision -- Historical Documents of Freedom touring exhibit. Since 1999 the research on each of the Patriots has expanded and in most cases the biographies have been entirely re-written after conscientious research. The Chapter on Arthur St. Clair is particularly extensive as I reside in Upper St. Clair, PA and thought it prudent to thoroughly educate my eight children on the accomplishments of their hometown’s namesake with an expanded biography.
Recently, more time and research was spent on Samuel Huntington’s Chapter as I was given the distinct honor to keynote his re-entombment on November 24, 2003. All chapters have been written to stand on their own so there is some redundancy in the verbage. For instance, Elias Boudinot and Arthur St. Clair share several paragraphs on the Military Mutiny that held Congress hostage at Independence Hall. In July 1783, Boudinot was President of the United States in Congress Assembled and St. Clair was the General who negotiated their release; hence the duplication of the account in their biographies.
The Presidents stories are colorful, patriotic and quite moving. Most importantly these chapters on the Early Republic of the United States (when completed on February 18th, 2004 ) will provide readers with a vast insight into the workings of our 21st century political System.
George Santayana, a notable philosopher, once wrote, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." This view of history, as astute as it may be, is the classic example of seeing the glass half empty. Words like DOOMED and NOT LEARNED have echoed through the classrooms long enough, enveloping HISTORY with a negative aura. A new approach to the historical adventure is blossoming and I am proud to be a small part of the metamorphos.
At the signing of the 1787 US Constitution, Benjamin Franklin pointed to the President's Chair, which had a sun carved on it and said:
"I have often...in the course of this session...looked at that...without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting; but now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun."
This positive “Rising Sun” philosophy is something we all should embrace in life. So in this adventure into the lives of the forgotten presidents of the United States please keep your mind open and remember that “History is the Crystal Ball to the Future; all you have to do is examine it.”
It is my sincere wish that you will discover, in President Who?, bursts of historical light that will clarify your vision and enrich your journey as a citizen of this bold and wonderful 21st Century World.
Click Here For Chapter One
A Brief chronology of late
18th Century Colonial America
1763 – The French and Indian War for Empire ends with a Paris Treaty. King George III signs a Proclamation prohibiting English settlement west of the Appalachians. Parliament in desperate need of money passes The Sugar Act increasing duties on imported sugar, textiles, coffee, wines and indigo dye.
1765 - The British Stamp Act passes Parliament and imposes a direct tax on the American colonies to be paid directly to King George III. The Stamp Act Congress convenes in New York City and passes a resolution calling on King George III to repeal the Act. One year later that act is repealed.
1766 - English Parliament passes the Declaratory Act declaring the British government's absolute authority over the American colonies.
1767 – Townshend Revenue Acts are passed by Parliament, taxing imported paper, tea, glass, lead and paints.
1768 – John Hancock and other Selectman call for a town meeting at Faneuil Hall on September 23 to September 28, 1768 and 96 towns answering Hancock’s call to address taxation and self government grievances. On the final day of the meeting, warships arrived in Boston with the first British reinforcements, and on October 1 two regiments arrived from Halifax, effectively beginning British occupation of its own colony. British troops stayed in Boston until forced to evacuate in March 1776.
1770 – John Adams successfully defends the soldiers who open fire on Massachusetts crowd of colonists who had been harassing them. Five are killed and six are wounded and the event goes down in History as The Boston Massacre. That same year, the Townsend Acts are repealed and taxes are removed from all items but tea.
1773 - The Tea Act gives the British East India Company a monopoly on tea by allowing it to bypass the British Crown Tax. Colonists masquerading as Mohawk Indians, board British ships and dump 342 containers of tea into Boston harbor in an event now known as The Boston Tea Party.
1774 - Coercive Acts passed by Parliament to rebuke Massachusetts for its continuing resistance to parliamentary rule. These four laws effectively ending self-rule in Massachusetts.
1774 - The First Continental Congress organizes in Philadelphia‘s City Tavern and formally the meets in Carpenter Hall with every colony represented but Georgia. In attendance are George Washington, Patrick Henry and John Hancock. Declaration of Resolves is passed, asserting rights of colonists and rejecting absolute British authority over colonies.
1775 - England Declares Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion. The New England Restraining Act is also passed, requiring the Colonies to trade only with Britain. Patrick Henry gives a speech in which he declares "give me liberty or give me death."
Later that same year, British troops headed to destroy a weapons depot at Concord are confronted by Massachusetts militiamen and the "shot heard round the world" begins the American Revolution. The Second Continental Congress convenes and unanimously appoints George Washington as General of the Continental Army.
1776 - On July 2, 1776 The United Colonies of America declare themselves to be free and Independent States at the Pennsylvania Colonial Statehouse in Philadelphia. On July 4th, 1776 The Declaration of Independence is passed. Thomas Paine writes "Common Sense." After losses in New York and New Jersey Washington on Christmas Eve attacks the British and wins victory at the Battle of Trenton.
1777 – Articles of Confederation are finally passed by the Continental Congress of the United States but require unanimous ratification by all Thirteen States. The Continental Congress continues to conduct the war under the resolutions and laws of the United Colonies of America while they await ratification. First American flag commissioned by Congress. Virginia becomes the first state by ratifying the Articles on December 16, 1777.
1778 – After success at Saratoga Benjamin Franklin signs treaties with France, formally allying the US to France against Britain. South Carolina on February 5th, New York February 6th, Rhode Island February 16th, Georgia February 26th, Connecticut February 27th, New Hampshire March 4th, Pennsylvania March 5th, Massachusetts March 10th, North Carolina April 24th and New Jersey November 20th ratify the Articles of Confederation.
1779 – Delaware, the 12th State, ratifies the Articles of Confederation February 1st.
1780 – British effectively capture the Southern States when Charleston, South Carolina falls. Former President of the Continental Congress Henry Middleton of South Carolina pledges allegiance to the British Crown. General Benedict Arnold found to be a spy, escapes and excepts a commission in the British Army.
1781 - Maryland on February 2nd 1781 final ratifies the Articles of Confederation. On March 1, Maryland’s ratification is presented to the Continental Congress. With all the thirteen States present the Continental Congress declares the Articles ratified forming the perpetual Union of the United States of America. On March 2, 1781 Congress changes their name as prescribed by the new Constitution to the United States in Congress Assembled. Continental Congress President Samuel Huntington is retained and becomes the President of the United States in Congress Assembled. Cornwallis Surrenders to Washington in September 1781 after the siege of Yorktown. The British Parliament votes to end the war and authorizes the King to negotiate the peace with the Americans.
1782 -An initial peace treaty is signed in Paris recognizing American independence and agreeing to the British withdrawal from American soil.
1783 - Military mutinies and hold Congress who is in session in Independence Hall hostage.
1784 - The Treaty of Paris is ratified by the Congress. Thomas Mifflin signs as the President of the United States of America.
1786 - Shays rebellion breaks out in New England over protests of unfair taxing laws and corrupt judges. The Articles of Confederation Government is weak and failing. The States call for a revision of the Articles of Confederation in Annapolis Maryland but only 5 States show. The recommend Congress call for a second convention to revise the Articles in May 1787. Congress doesn’t adopt the resolution.
1787 – General Arthur St. Clair, the man who negotiated Congress’ release in 1783, is elected President of the United States in Congress Assembled. He immediately supports the committee’s recommendation to revise the Articles of Confederation in May. The Conventions Convenes in May. In July St. Clair’s Congress passes the Northwest Ordinance. On September 17th the Convention in Philadelphia signs not a document revising the Articles of Confederation but a new Constitution. President Arthur St. Clair and Congress receive the New Plan for The Federal Government and decide not to alter one word voting to send it on to the states for ratification.
1788 - The Constitution is ratified and elections are scheduled under the new articles of the 1787 document.
1789 – The United States in Congress Assembled disbands and the new House of Representatives, Senate, Supreme Court and the President assume the offices prescribed to them under the US Constitution. George Washington is sworn in as the 1st President of the United States under the 1787 Constitution.
Click Here For Chapter One
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