The Forgotten Presidents
- Part 1
You don't believe that the powers that be are destroying
our children's history? Then when was the last time you read about these.
If you were raised in the north, I bet even you never heard of these men.
For the history books have been written by the damn Jews for so long that
our people don't know their heritage.
The Forgotten Presidents
Who was the first president of the United States? Ask any school
child and they will readily tell you "George Washington." And of
course, they would be wrong; at least technically. Washington was not inaugurated
until April 30, 1789. And yet, the United States continually had functioning
governments from as early as September 5, 1774 and operated as a confederated
nation from as early as July 4, 1776.
By George Grant (ArxAxiom@aol.com)
Excerpted from The Patriot's Handbook
During that nearly fifteen year interval, Congress; first the
Continental Congress and then later the Confederation Congress, was always
moderated by a duly elected president. As the chief executive officer of
the government of the United States, the president was recognized as the
head of state.
Washington was thus the fifteenth in a long line of distinguished
presidents; and he led the seventeenth administration, he just happened
to be the first under the current constitution. So who were the luminaries
who preceded him? The following brief biographies profile these "forgotten
Peyton Randolph of Virginia (1723-1775) When delegates gathered
in Philadelphia for the first Continental Congress, they promptly
elected the former King's Attorney of Virginia as the moderator and president
of their convocation. He was a propitious choice. He was a legal prodigy;
having studied at the Inner Temple in London, served as his native colony's
Attorney General, and tutored many of the most able men of the South
at William and Mary College, including the young Patrick Henry. His home
in Williamsburg was the gathering place for Virginia's legal and political
gentry, and it remains a popular attraction in the restored colonial capital.
He had served as a delegate in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and had
been a commander under William Byrd in the colonial militia. He was a scholar
of some renown, having begun a self-guided reading of the classics when
he was thirteen. Despite suffering poor health served the Continental Congress
as president twice, in 1774 from September 5 to October 21, and then again
for a few days in 1775 from May 10 to May 23. He never lived to see independence,
yet was numbered among the nation's most revered founders.
Henry Middleton (1717-1784) America's second elected president
was one of the wealthiest planters in the South, the patriarch of the most
powerful families anywhere in the nation. His public spirit was evident
from an early age. He was a member of his state's Common House from 1744-1747.
During the last two years he served as the Speaker. During 1755
he was the King's Commissioner of Indian Affairs. He was a member of the
South Carolina Council from 1755-1770. His valor in the War with the Cherokees
during 1760-1761 earned him wide recognition throughout the colonies; and
demonstrated his cool leadership abilities while under pressure. He was
elected as a delegate to the first session of the Continental Congress
and when Peyton Randolph was forced to resign the presidency, his peers
immediately turned to Middleton to complete the term. He served as the
fledgling coalition's president from October 22, 1774 until Randolph was
able to resume his duties briefly beginning on May 10, 1775. Afterward,
he was a member of the Congressional Council of Safety and helped to establish
the young nation's policy toward the encouragement and support of education.
In February 1776 he resigned his political involvements in order
to prepare his family and lands for what he believed was inevitable war;
but he was replaced by his son Arthur who eventually became a signer of
both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation,
served time as an English prisoner of war, and was twice elected Governor
of his state.
John Hancock (1737-1793) The third president was a patriot, rebel
leader, merchant who signed his name into immortality in giant strokes
on the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The boldness of his
signature has made it live in American minds as a perfect expression of
the strength and freedom; and defiance, of the individual in the face of
British tyranny. As President of the Continental Congress during two widely
spaced terms; the first from May 24 1775 to October 30 1777 and the second
from November 23, 1885 to June 5, 1786; Hancock was the presiding officer
when the members approved the Declaration of Independence. Because of his
position, it was his official duty to sign the document first, but not
necessarily as dramatically as he did.
Hancock figured prominently in another historic event; the battle
at Lexington: British troops who fought there April 10, 1775, had known
Hancock and Samuel Adams were in Lexington and had come there to capture
these rebel leaders. And the two would have been captured, if they had
not been warned by Paul Revere. As early as 1768, Hancock defied the British
by refusing to pay customs charges on the cargo of one of his ships. One
of Boston's wealthiest merchants, he was recognized by the citizens, as
well as by the British, as a rebel leader; and was elected President of
the first Massachusetts Provincial Congress. After he was chosen President
of the Continental Congress in 1775, Hancock became known beyond the borders
of Massachusetts, and, having served as colonel of the Massachusetts Governor's
Guards he hoped to be named commander of the American forcesuntil John
Adams nominated George Washington. In 1778 Hancock was commissioned Major
General and took part in an unsuccessful campaign in Rhode Island. But
it was as a political leader that his real distinction was earned; as the
first Governor of Massachusetts, as President of Congress, and as President
of the Massachusetts constitutional ratification convention.
He helped win ratification in Massachusetts, gaining enough
popular recognition to make him a contender for the newly created Presidency
of the United States, but again he saw Washington gain the prize. Like
his rival, George Washington, Hancock was a wealthy man who risked much
for the cause of independence. He was the wealthiest New Englander supporting
the patriotic cause, and, although he lacked the brilliance of John Adams
or the capacity to inspire of Samuel Adams, he became one of the foremost
leaders of the new nation; perhaps, in part, because he was willing to
commit so much at such risk to the cause of freedom.
Henry Laurens (1724-1792) The only American president ever to
be held as a prisoner of war by a foreign power, Laurens was heralded after
he was released as "the father of our country," by no less a personage
than George Washington. He was of Huguenot extraction, his ancestors having
come to America from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes
made the Reformed faith illegal. Raised and educated for a life of mercantilism
at his home in Charleston, he also had the opportunity to spend more than
a year in continental travel. It was while in Europe that he began to write
revolutionary pamphlets; gaining him renown as a patriot.
He served as vice-president of South Carolina in 1776. He was
then elected to the Continental Congress. He succeeded John Hancock as
President of the newly independent but war beleaguered United States on
November 1, 1777. He served until December 9, 1778 at which time he was
appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands.
Unfortunately for the cause of the young nation, he was captured
by an English warship during his cross-Atlantic voyage and was confined
to the Tower of London until the end of the war. After the Battle of Yorktown,
the American government regained his freedom in a dramatic prisoner exchange;
President Laurens for Lord Cornwallis. Ever the patriot, Laurens continued
to serve his nation as one of the three representatives selected to negotiate
terms at the Paris Peace Conference in 1782.
The Forgotten Presidents - Part
John Jay (1745-1829) America's first Secretary of State, first
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, one of its first ambassadors, and author
of some of the celebrated Federalist Papers, Jay was a Founding Father
who, by a quirk of fate, missed signing the Declaration of Independenceat
the time of the vote for independence and the signing, he had temporarily
left the Continental Congress to serve in New York's revolutionary legislature.
Nevertheless, he was chosen by his peers to succeed Henry Laurens
as President of the United States; serving a term from December 10, 1778
to September 27, 1779. A conservative New York lawyer who was at first
against the idea of independence for the colonies, the aristocratic Jay
in 1776 turned into a patriot who was willing to give the next twenty-five
years of his life to help establish the new nation.
During those years, he won the regard of his peers as a dedicated
and accomplished statesman and a man of unwavering principle. In the Continental
Congress Jay prepared addresses to the people of Canada and Great Britain.
In New York he drafted the State constitution and served as Chief
Justice during the war. He was President of the Continental Congress before
he undertook the difficult assignment, as ambassador, of trying to gain
support and funds from Spain. After helping Franklin, Jefferson, Adams,
and Laurens complete peace negotiations in Paris in 1783, Jay returned
to become the first Secretary of State, called "Secretary of Foreign Affairs"
under the Articles of Confederation. He negotiated valuable commercial
treaties with Russia and Morocco, and dealt with the continuing controversy
with Britain and Spain over the southern and western boundaries of the
He proposed that America and Britain establish a joint commission
to arbitrate disputes that remained after the war; a proposal which, though
not adopted, influenced the government's use of arbitration and diplomacy
in settling later international problems. In this post Jay felt keenly
the weakness of the Articles of Confederation and was one of the first
to advocate a new governmental compact. He wrote five Federalist Papers
supporting the Constitution, and he was a leader in the New York ratification
convention. As first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Jay made the historic
decision that a State could be sued by a citizen from another State, which
led to the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution. On a special mission
to London he concluded the "Jay Treaty," which helped avert a renewal of
hostilities with Britain but won little popular favor at home; and it is
probably for this treaty that this Founding Father is best remembered.
Samuel Huntington (1732-1796) An industrious youth who mastered
his studies of the law without the advantage of a school, a tutor, or a
master; borrowing books and snatching opportunities to read and research
between odd jobs, he was one of the greatest self-made men among the Founders.
He was also one of the greatest legal minds of the age, all the more remarkable
for his lack of advantage as a youth. In 1764, in recognition of his obvious
abilities and initiative, he was elected to the General Assembly of Connecticut.
The next year he was chosen to serve on the Executive Council.
In 1774 he was appointed Associate Judge of the Superior Court and, as
a delegate to the Continental Congress, was acknowledged to be a legal
scholar of some respect. He served in Congress for five consecutive terms,
during the last of which he was elected President. He served in that off
ice from September 28, 1779 until ill health forced him to resign on July
He returned to his home in Connecticut; and as he recuperated,
he accepted more Councillor and Bench duties. He again took his seat in
Congress in 1783, but left it to become Chief Justice of his state's Superior
Court. He was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1785 and Governor in 1786.
According to John Jay, he was "the most precisely trained Christian jurists
ever to serve his country."
Thomas McKean (1734-1817) During his astonishingly varied fifty-year
career in public life he held almost every possible position; from deputy
county attorney to President of the United States under the Confederation.
Besides signing the Declaration of Independence, he contributed significantly
to the development and establishment of constitutional government in both
his home state of Delaware and the nation. At the Stamp Act Congress he
proposed the voting procedure that Congress adopted: that each colony,
regardless of size or population, have one vote, the practice adopted by
the Continental Congress and the Congress of the Confederation, and the
principle of state equality manifest in the composition of the Senate.
And as county judge in 1765, he defied the British by ordering his court
to work only with documents that did not bear the hated stamps.
In June 1776, at the Continental Congress, McKean joined with
Caesar Rodney to register Delaware's approval of the Declaration of Independence,
over the negative vote of the third Delaware delegate, George Read; permitting
it to be "The unanimous declaration of the thirteen United States." And
at a special Delaware convention, he drafted the constitution for that
State. McKean also helped draft; and signed, the Articles of Confederation.
It was during his tenure of service as President, from July 10, 1781 to
November 4, 1782, when news arrived from General Washington in October
1781 that the British had surrendered following the Battle of Yorktown.
As Chief Justice of the supreme court of Pennsylvania, he contributed
to the establishment of the legal system in that State, and, in 1787, he
strongly supported the Constitution at the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention,
declaring it "the best the world has yet seen." At sixty-five, after over
forty years of public service, McKean resigned from his post as Chief Justice.
A candidate on the Democratic-Republican ticket in 1799, McKean
was elected Governor of Pennsylvania. As Governor, he followed such a strict
policy of appointing only fellow Republicans to office that he became the
father of the spoils system in America. He served three tempestuous terms
as Governor, completing one of the longest continuous careers of public
service of any of the Founding Fathers.
John Hanson (1715-1783) He was the heir of one of the greatest
family traditions in the colonies and became the patriarch of a long line
of American patriots; his great grandfather died at Lutzen beside the great
King Gustavus Aldophus of Sweden; his grandfather was one of the founders
of New Sweden along the Delaware River in Maryland; one of his nephews
was the military secretary to George Washington; another was a signer of
the Declaration; still another was a signer of the Constitution; yet another
was Governor of Maryland during the Revolution; and still another was a
member of the first Congress; two sons were killed in action with the Continental
Army; a grandson served as a member of Congress under the new Constitution;
and another grandson was a Maryland Senator.
Thus, even if Hanson had not served as President himself, he would
have greatly contributed to the life of the nation through his ancestry
and progeny. As a youngster he began a self-guided reading of classics
and rather quickly became an acknowledged expert in the juridicalism of
Anselm and the practical philosophy of Seneca, both of which were influential
in the development of the political philosophy of the great leaders of
the Reformation. It was based upon these legal and theological studies
that the young planter; his farm, Mulberry Grove was just across the Potomac
from Mount Vernon, began to espouse the cause of the patriots. In 1775
he was elected to the Provincial Legislature of Maryland.
Then in 1777, he became a member of Congress where he distinguished
himself as a brilliant administrator. Thus, he was elected President in
1781. He served in that office from November 5, 1781 until November 3,
1782. He was the first President to serve a full term after the full ratification
of the Articles of Confederation; and like so many of the Southern and
New England Founders, he was strongly opposed to the Constitution when
it was first discussed. He remained a confirmed anti-federalist until his
The Forgotten Presidents - Part
3 (Last One)
Elias Boudinot (1741-1802) He did not sign the Declaration, the
Articles, or the Constitution. He did not serve in the Continental Army
with distinction. He was not renowned for his legal mind or his political
skills. He was instead a man who spent his entire career in foreign diplomacy.
He earned the respect of his fellow patriots during the dangerous days
following the traitorous action of Benedict Arnold.
His deft handling of relations with Canada also earned him great
praise. After being elected to the Congress from his home state of New
Jersey, he served as the new nation's Secretary for Foreign Affairs; managing
the influx of aid from France, Spain, and Holland. The in 1783 he was elected
to the Presidency. He served in that office from November 4, 1782 until
November 2, 1783. Like so many of the other early presidents, he was a
classically trained scholar, of the Reformed faith, and an anti-federalist
in political matters. He was the father and grandfather of frontiersmen,
and one of his grandchildren and namesakes eventually became a leader of
the Cherokee nation in its bid for independence from the sprawling expansion
of the United States.
Thomas Mifflin (1744-1800) By an ironic sort of providence, Thomas
Mifflin served as George Washington's first aide-de-camp at the beginning
of the Revolutionary War, and, when the war was over, he was the man, as
President of the United States, who accepted Washington's resignation of
his commission. In the years between, Mifflin greatly served the cause
of freedomand, apparently, his own cause; while serving as the first Quartermaster
General of the Continental Army. He obtained desperately needed supplies
for the new army, and was suspected of making excessive profit himself.
Although experienced in business and successful in obtaining supplies for
the war, Mifflin preferred the front lines, and he distinguished himself
in military actions on Long Island and near Philadelphia. Born and reared
a Quaker, he was excluded from their meetings for his military activities.
A controversial figure, Mifflin lost favor with Washington and was part
of the Conway Cabal, a rather notorious plan to replace Washington with
General Horatio Gates. And Mifflin narrowly missed court-martial action
over his handling of funds by resigning his commission in 1778.
In spite of these problems, and of repeated charges that he was
a drunkard, Mifflin continued to be elected to positions of responsibility;
as President and Governor of Pennsylvania, delegate to the Constitutional
Convention, as well as the highest office in the land; where he served
from November 3, 1783 to November 29, 1784. Most of Mifflin's significant
contributions occurred in his earlier years, in the First and Second Continental
Congresses he was firm in his stand for independence and for fighting for
it, and he helped obtain both men and supplies for Washington's army in
the early critical period. In 1784, as President, he signed the treaty
with Great Britain which ended the war. Although a delegate to the Constitutional
Convention, he did not make a significant contribution, beyond signing
As Governor of Pennsylvania, although he was accused of negligence,
he supported improvements of roads, and reformed the State penal and judicial
systems. He had gradually become sympathetic to Jefferson's principles
regarding State's rights, even so, he directed the Pennsylvania militia
to support the Federal tax collectors in the Whiskey Rebellion. In spite
of charges of corruption, the affable Mifflin remained a popular figure.
A magnetic personality and an effective speaker, he managed to hold a variety
of elective offices for almost thirty years of the critical Revolutionary
Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) His resolution "that these United
Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States," approved
by the Continental Congress July 2, 1776, was the first official act of
the United Colonies that set them irrevocably on the road to independence.
It was not surprising that it came from Lee's pen; as early as 1768 he
proposed the idea of committees of correspondence among the colonies, and
in 1774 he proposed that the colonies meet in what became the Continental
From the first, his eye was on independence. A wealthy Virginia
planter whose ancestors had been granted extensive lands by King Charles
II, Lee disdained the traditional aristocratic role and the aristocratic
view. In the House of Burgesses he flatly denounced the practice of slavery.
He saw independent America as "an asylum where the unhappy may find solace,
and the persecuted repose."
In 1764, when news of the proposed Stamp Act reached Virginia,
Lee was a member of the committee of the House of Burgesses that drew up
an address to the King, an official protest against such a tax. After the
tax was established, Lee organized the citizens of his county into the
Westmoreland Association, a group pledged to buy no British goods until
the Stamp Act was repealed. At the First Continental Congress, Lee persuaded
representatives from all the colonies to adopt this non-importation idea,
leading to the formation of the Continental Association, which was one
of the first steps toward union of the colonies. Lee also proposed to the
First Continental Congress that a militia be organized and armed; the year
before the first shots were fired at Lexington; but this and other proposals
of his were considered too radical, at the time. Three days after Lee introduced
his resolution, in June of 1776, he was appointed by Congress to
the committee responsible for drafting a declaration of independence, but
he was called home when his wife fell ill, and his place was taken by his
young prot�g�e, Thomas Jefferson.
Thus Lee missed the chance to draft the document, though his influence
greatly shaped it and he was able to return in time to sign it. He
was elected President, serving from November 30, 1784 to November 22, 1785
when he was succeeded by the second administration of John Hancock. Elected
to the Constitutional Convention, Lee refused to attend, but as a member
of the Congress of the Confederation, he contributed to another great document,
the Northwest Ordinance, which provided for the formation of new States
from the Northwest Territory. When the completed Constitution was sent
to the States for ratification, Lee opposed it as anti-democratic and anti-Christian.
However, as one of Virginia's first Senators, he helped assure
passage of the amendments that, he felt, corrected many of the document's
gravest faults, the Bill of Rights. He was the great uncle of Robert E.
Lee and the scion of a great family tradition.
Nathaniel Gorham (1738-1796) Another self-made man, Gorham was
one of the many successful Boston merchants who risked all he had
for the cause of freedom. He was first elected to the Massachusetts General
Court in 1771. His honesty and integrity won his acclaim and was thus among
the first delegates chose to serve in the Continental Congress. He remained
in public service throughout the war and into the Constitutional period,
though his greatest contribution was his call for a stronger central government.
But even though he was an avid federalist, he did not believe that the
union could; or even should, be maintained peaceably for more than a hundred
He was convinced that eventually, in order to avoid civil or cultural
war, smaller regional interests should pursue an independent course. His
support of a new constitution was rooted more in pragmatism than ideology.
When John Hancock was unable to complete his second term as President,
Gorham was elected to succeed him, serving from June 6, 1786 to February
It was during this time that the Congress actually entertained
the idea of asking Prince Henry, the brother of Frederick II of Prussia,
and Bonnie Prince Charlie; the leader of the ill-fated Scottish Jacobite
Rising and heir of the Stuart royal line, to consider the possibility of
establishing a constitutional monarch in America. It was a plan that had
much to recommend it but eventually the advocates of republicanism held
the day. During the final years of his life, Gorham was concerned with
several speculative land deals which nearly cost him his entire fortune.
Arthur St. Clair (1734-1818) Born and educated in Edinburgh,
Scotland during the tumultuous days of the final Jacobite Rising and the
Tartan Suppression, St. Clair was the only president of the United States
born and bred on foreign soil.
Though most of his family and friends abandoned their devastated
homeland in the years following the Battle of Culloden; after which nearly
a third of the land was depopulated through emigration to America, he stayed
behind to learn the ways of the hated Hanoverian English in the Royal Navy.
His plan was to learn of the enemy's military might in order to fight another
During the global conflict of the Seven Years War, generally known
as the French and Indian War, he was stationed in the American theater.
Afterward, he decided to settle in Pennsylvania where many of his kin had
established themselves. His civic-mindedness quickly became apparent: he
helped to organize both the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania militias,
led the Continental Army's Canadian expedition, and was elected Congress.
His long years of training in the enemy camp was finally paying off.
He was elected President in 1787; and he served from February
2 of that year until January 21 of the next. Following his term of duty
in the highest office in the land, he became the first Governor of the
Northwest Territory and the founder of Cincinnati. Though he briefly supported
the idea of creating a constitutional monarchy under the Stuart's Bonnie
Prince Charlie, he was a strident Anti-Federalist, believing that the proposed
federal constitution would eventually allow for the intrusion of government
into virtually every sphere and aspect of life.
He even predicted that under the vastly expanded centralized power
of the state the taxing powers of bureaucrats and other unelected officials
would eventually confiscate as much as a quarter of the income of the citizensa
notion that seemed laughable at the time but that has proven to be ominously
modest in light of our current governmental leviathan.
St. Clair lived to see the hated English tyrants who destroyed
his homeland defeated. But he despaired that his adopted home might actually
create similar tyrannies and impose them upon themselves.
Cyrus Griffin (1736-1796) Like Peyton Randolph, he was trained
in London's Inner Temple to be a lawyer, and thus was counted among his
nation's legal elite. Like so many other Virginians, he was an anti-federalist,
though he eventually accepted the new Constitution with the promise of
the Bill of Rights as a hedge against the establishment of an American
monarchy, which still had a good deal of currency.
The Articles of Confederation afforded such freedoms that he had
become convinced that even with the incumbent loss of liberty, some new
form of government would be required. A prot�g�e of George
Washington having worked with him on several speculative land deals in
the West; he was a reluctant supporter of the Constitutional ratifying
process. It was during his term in the office of the Presidency, the last
before the new national compact went into effect, that ratification was
formalized and finalized. He served as the nation's chief executive from
January 22, 1788 until George Washington's inauguration on April 30, 1789.
"Political freedom is an idea but not a fact..." (Protocol 1:6)