The following is taken from The Illuminoids, by Neal Wilgus, published by Pocket Books, New York 1978. It is a history of belief in a secret society called the Illuminati that controls world events behind the scenes. (pp. 31-33)Or was Washington really the first president after all? A number of historians hold that a patriot named John Hanson was technically the first chief executive because he was elected President of the United States in Congress Assembled on November 5, 1781, the first of seven such one-year termed presidents. In fact, Hanson even introduced the victorious General Washington to Congress a few weeks later when the Revolutionary War ended.
Washington didn't become president until 1789, following the terms of Presidents Hanson, Boudinot, Mifflin, Lee, Gorham, St. Clair and Griffin. But Hanson and the others got a bad press, according to a story in The Star, December 2, 1975, and Washington, Franklin and others soon stole the spotlight. Historians Arthur G. Horton and Merle Jensen are quoted as Hanson authorities in the article and the story they tell of the first American president is a bit different than we are used to.
John "Swede" Hanson, it turns out, was a next-door neighbor to Washington, both of them members of successful farming families along the Potomac River. Ironically, Hanson grew up to become the first president of the new nation, but it was the more dramatic military figure, master spy "711," who became known as "father of his country." The brief Hanson administration was a busy one, tho, with the forgotten chief executive establishing the first post office and setting up the first presidential cabinet, which included Franklin as Secretary of State.
Strangely enough, Washington's diary is missing from November 5, 1781, Hanson's election day, until the fall of 1784 when President Lee was in office. According to Howard Rich in an article in Saver's World, Summer, 1975, Hanson's correspondence for the period is also missingbut this is not surprising since little of Hanson's personality has survived. Horton and Jensen, in fact, paint Hanson as a colorless man, about whom no stories have survived, despite the fact that he was from an influential family and was a popular member of the Maryland State Assembly for 22 years. Hanson emerged from his year as president as a sick old man and a year later, on November 22, 1783, he fell ill and died. Even his burying place is now unknown.
Hanson, in a strange way, shares a number of things with the early American conspirator, Benedict Arnold. Both Hanson and Arnold were eager patriots who contributed to the raising of the first troops for the revolutionary army Washington was to lead. Arnold was one of the leading generals, perhaps a competitor for Washington's military leadership. He was involved in a conspiracy which led to his downfall and desertion to the British. Hanson was the first President of Congress Assembled, perhaps a competitor for Washington's political leadership. He faded into obscurity soon after his brief term as President and subsequent death.
A lot of sites talk about seven missing presidents, but
actually if you count there must be eight. President Hancock was left out. Here is the correct list given by one of the sites below:
John Hanson (1781-82)
Elias Boudinot (1782-83)
Thomas Mifflin (1783-84)
Richard Henry Lee (1784-85)
John Hancock (1785-86)
Nathan Gorman (1786-87)
Arthur St. Clair (1787-88)
Cyrus Griffin (1788-89)
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