14 Presidents Before George Washington

The Continental Congress was the early form of Government of the U.S.A. for 16 years (1774-1789). It was made up of 55 Representatives (35 Moors, 20 European Sons) from the original 13 States. The Continental Congress first came together to protest certain measures of the British Parliament. It also urged the colonist to arm themselves in defense of the Rights. Before this meeting closed, the Delegates agreed to meet a second time. By the time the second meeting was held, the American Revolutionary War had started.
   These 35 Moors stemmed from five of the Thirteen States: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina (SEE Judge Charles Curtis’ Dissenting Opinion vs. Justice Taney concerning the DRED SCOTT Decision).
   The United States of America did not have an official written Government until the Articles of Confederation was signed in 1781 which was right before it won its Independence from Britain.

1. Peyton Randolph (1721-1775)- A pre-Revolutionary American Politician born in James City County [Williamsburg], Virginia and educated at the College of William and Mary. An influential member of the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1748 until his death. In 1764, he rallied the opposition of the Burgesses (Legislators) against the Threatened Stamp Act. In 1766, he became Speaker of the House which he retained for the rest of his life. Randolph was appointed to the first Continental Congress at Philadelphia County and served as its President in September of 1774 and, then afterwards in May of 1775 as he served again as the 3rd President which is the 1st President of the Second Continental Congress.

2. Arthur Henry Middleton (1742-1787)- A Planter, Legislator, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, and one of the leaders in the controversies that preceded the outbreak of the American Revolution, born in Middleton Place near Charleston County, South Carolina. After completing his education in England, he returned to South Carolina in 1763 and was elected to its Legislature, the House of Assembly. He served as President of the Continental Congress in October 1774. Between 1775 and 1776, he was a member of the Council of Safety which was a committee that provided leadership for the State’s preparations for Revolution. He served on the Legislative Committee that drafted its State’s Constitution and was a delegate to the Continental Congress between 1776 to 1778. At the Siege of Charleston in 1780, he served in the Militia and was taken prisoner when the City fell to the British. He was sent to Saint Johns County [Saint Augustine], Florida as a P.O.W. After being exchanged in 1781, he became a member of the Continental Congress, placed back in the House of Assembly, and went on the original Board of Trustees of the College of Charleston.

3. John Hancock (1737-1793)- An American Patriot, Statesman, first to sign the Declaration of Independence, born in Norfolk County [Braintree (Now part of Quincy)], Massachusetts and educated at Harvard College (Now Harvard University). After graduating in 1754, he joined the Mercentile Firm of his Uncle and Guardian, the Colonial Businessman Thomas Hancock. In 1764, he inherited the Business and a substantial fortune. He was elected to the State’s Legislature two years later. He also served as the President of the United States in November of 1785 to June of 1786. He was member of the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1780 serving as a Presiding Officer during the first two years until October 1777. He was the first Governor of Massachusetts from 1780 to 1785 and 1789 to his death. He initially opposed the Constitution for the United States of America but later supported it and served as President of the Massachusetts Convention that approved this Constitution.

4. Henry Laurens (1724-1792)- An American Colonial Statesman born in Charleston County, South Carolina, where he was educated and became a successful Merchant there. In 1764, he became a Planter. He served almost continuously in the Colonial Assembly from 1757 to 1774. In 1775, he was President of the State’s Legislature then Vice President of South Carolina from 1776 to 1777 then to become a member of the Continental Congress serving as President starting in November of 1777 to December of 1778. Congress appointed him as an Envoy to negotiate a Treaty with the Dutch but he was captured at Sea by the British and imprisoned in the Tower of London. In 1781, he was exchanged for British General Charles Cornwallis who had surrendered. Late in 1782, Laurens was a signer of the Preliminary Peace Treaty ending the American Revolution and later returned to South Carolina.

5. John Jay (1745-1829)- American Statesman, Jurist, and the first Chief Justice of the United States of America born in New York City and educated at King’s College (Now Columbia University). He was admitted to the Bar in 1768 and represented the point of view of the American Merchants in protesting British restrictions on the Commercial activities of the Colonies. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1774 and again in 1775. He drafted the first State’s Constitution and was appointed Chief Justice of the State in 1777. The following year, he was again elected to the Continental Congress and chosen as President. In Paris in 1782, he was one of the Commissioners who negotiated the Treaty of Paris ending the American Revolution. From 1784 to 1789, he was Secretary of Foreign Affairs. The ineffectiveness of the Articles of Confederation led him to become a proponent of a strong National Government. With Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, he wrote the series of Articles called ‘The Federalist’ which urged Ratification of the Constitution for the U.S.A. In 1789, President George Washington appointed him as Chief Justice. In 1794 when war with Britain threatened due to controversies over the Treaty of Paris, he was appointed by Washington to negotiate a settlement. He went to Great Britain and concluded the agreement known as the ‘Jay Treaty’. On his return, he discovered that during his absence he had been elected Governor of New York State. He resigned from the Court and served as Governor from 1795 to 1801. He spent the rest of his life in retirement.

6. Samuel Huntington (1731-1796)- President of the Continental Congress and the Congress of the Confederation from September 1779 to July 1781, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Governor of his place of birth, Connecticut, where he served in its Assembly in 1765 and was appointed as a Judge of the Superior Court in 1774. He was a member of the Governor’s Council from 1775 to 1783 after which time, he returned to Connecticut to become a Chief Justice of its State Supreme Court in 1784, then becoming a Lieutenant Governor in 1785, then becoming a Governor in 1786. He was re-elected each year thereafter until his death.

7. Thomas McKean (1734-1817)- President of the Continental Congress from July 1781 to November 1781 serving as both a delegate to the Continental Congress and the Congress of the Confederation starting at 1774 to 1783. He was a Delaware signer of the Declaration of Independence and was Governor of Pennsylvania from 1799 to 1808 during which times, he restrained Radical Politicians whose plans were to reduce the Commonwealth to a condition of Anarchy. Born in Chester County [New London], Pennsylvania. He studied Law and wrote most of the Delaware State Constitution.

8. John Hanson (1721-1783)- Born in Maryland being a Moorish Patriot for this State in the American Revolution. When the Articles of Confederation were ratified on March 1, 1781, no elections were held or even discussed for selecting a new president. Instead, Samuel Huntington continued to serve as President of Congress until he asked to be relieved due to ill health on July 6, 1781. On July 9, Samuel Johnston was selected as Huntington’s replacement, but he declined the office the next day, and so Thomas McKean was elected as the next presiding officer. This is the reason why John Hanson was classified as the First President of the New Nation under the Articles of Confederation. He was elected by Congress as the President of the United States in Congress Assembled, therefore, being the First President of the United States. As a member of the State’s Assembly from 1757, he became active in the resistance to British Tax measures in the 1760’s and was an early supporter of Independence. As a delegate to the Continental Congress and the Congress of the Confederation from 1780 to 1782, he signed the Articles of Confederation and played an important part in persuading New York and Virginia to give up their claims to Western Territory.

9. Elias Boudinot (1740-1821)- Born in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, was a prominent Patriot during the American Revolution. Although he initially believed that “Firm dependence in the Mother Country [was] essential”, he was converted to the cause of Independence and served twice from 1777 to 1778 and 1781 to 1784. He was President of the United States from 1782 to 1783. He helped bring about the Ratification by New Jersey of the Constitution for the United States of America and was a member of Congress under this Constitution from 1789 to 1795. He was a Director of the U.S. Mint from 1795 to 1805 and the founder and the first President of the American Bible Society from 1816 to 1821. He authored the books “A Star in the West” and “Age of Revelation”. He argued for the rights of Asiatic citizens, and sponsored students to the Board School for Tribal Moors (Native Americans) in Connecticut. One of these, a young Cherokee named Gallegina Watie, stayed with him while traveling to the school. The two so impressed each other that Gallegina asked for and was given permission to use his name, and was afterward known as Elias Boudinot.

10. Thomas Mifflin (1744-1800)- An American Statesman and Soldier born in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, was educated at the College of Philadelphia (Now called the University of Pennsylvania). In the agitation over the British policy preceding the American Revolution, he championed Colonial Rights and was elected a member of the First Continental Congress. After the outbreak of hostilities, he was appointed Aide-De-Camp to General George Washington and later the Quartermaster General of the Revolutionary Army which was a Post he resigned after charges of mismanagement were brought against him. In 1777, he was accused of being a Ringleader of the “Conway Cabal” which was a group that aimed at substituting General Horatio Gates for Washington as Commander-In-Chief. This intrigue failed. He severed his connection with the Army in 1779 and later became a delegate to Congress and, afterwards, became the President of the United States from 1783 to 1784. He was also a member of the Federal Constitutional Convention in 1787 and the first State Governor of Pennsylvania from 1790 to 1799.

11. Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794)- President of the United States from November 1784 to November 1785, was a Leader of the American Revolution. He was brother of Arthur and Francis Lee. He was born in Westmoreland County [Stratford], Virginia. He entered the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1758 and in his Freshman speech proposed a Resolution restricting the Importation of Slaves. He remained a member of the Virginia House until 1775. With Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, he was prominent in defending the Rights of the Colonies against Great Britain. He was among those who proposed the Committees of Correspondence that organized American resistance to British Political and Economic pressures. In 1773, he became a member of that Committee in Virginia and was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1774 to 1779. On June 7th, 1776, he offered a Resolution that ultimately gave rise to the Declaration of Independence which he later signed. In the debates on the Constitution for the U.S.A., he opposed the views of the Federalist Party because he felt that this Constitution, as proposed, infringed on the States’ Rights. In defense of his principles, he proposed the Tenth Amendment which was finally adopted. He was a United States Senator from March 1789 to October 1792 and was President Pro Tempore from April 1792 to October 1792. He died at his Plantation.

12. Nathaniel Gorham (1738-1796)- President of the United States from May 1786 to November 1786. Born in Suffolk County [Charlestown (part of Boston)], Massachusetts. He was a signer of the Constitution for the U.S.A. He served in the State’s Legislature from 1771 to 1775 and also served several terms of the Continental Congress. In the Constitutional Convention, he became President of the Committee of the whole for several weeks and urged a strong central Government.

13. Arthur Saint Clair (1737-1818)- President of the United States from February 1787 to November 1787. He was born in Scotland, he served in the British Army from 1757 to 1762 during the French and Indian War before settling in Pennsylvania where he held local Office. Hewas a Politician and an American soldier serving in the Continental Army from 1775 to 1781 during the American Revolutionary War where he rose to the rank of Major General but lost his command after a controversial retreat. He also was a Senior General of the U.S. Army in 1791 and appointed a Governor of a certain number of Territories during the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. He was a member of the Pennsylvania Council of Censors in 1783, and was elected a delegate to the Confederation Congress, serving from November 1785 to November 1787. Chaos ruled the day in early 1787 with Shays’ Rebellion in full force and the states refusing to settle land disputes or contribute to the now six year-old Federal Government. He died in poverty.

14. Cyrus Griffin (1749-1810)- President of the United States from January 1788 to March 1789 was born in the Commonwealth of Virginia and served as a Lawyer. He was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1781. Griffin was president of the Supreme Court of the Admiralty from its creation until its abolition, was commissioner to the Creek Nation in 1789, and was Judge of the United States District Court of Virginia from December 1789, until his death.