*****A Note on President's Day*****

The Articles of Confederation was the first governing document of the United States of America.

The articles, which combined the 13 colonies of the American Revolutionary War into a loose confederation, were adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, after 16 months of debate. The articles were ratified three years later on March 1, 1781.

The articles were eventually replaced by the United States Constitution on June 21, 1788, when the ninth state, New Hampshire, ratified the Constitution. According to their own terms for modification, however, the articles were still in effect until 1790, when every one of the 13 states had ratified the new Constitution.

The President of the Continental Congress, which was a position similar to a Prime Minister, was the highest authority; under the Articles of Confederation, the position adopted the title President of the United States in Congress Assembled, and Samuel Huntington was the first presiding officer (September 28, 1779 to July 6, 1781) 

Thomas McKean was the 2nd. (July 10, 1781 to November 5, 1781)

John Hanson's term as President of Congress of the United States, during this critical formation period, did have longstanding influence. John Hanson was the first President of the United States to serve the full one-year term (1781–82), under the ratified Articles of Confederation. He was the first to use that title when dealing with foreign governments, diplomats, or treaties. Congress had little authority beyond those powers, which had been specifically delegated to it by the states, and its weakness during this period led directly to a decline in influence and the 1787 Constitution, with a more robust federal model.

Among the accomplishments of Hanson's presidency of Congress:

The origin of the claim that Hanson is the "forgotten" first President stem from a 1932 book by Seymour Wemyss Smith titled John Hanson - Our First President. Nevertheless, officially John Hanson was the third presiding officer of the Congress of the United States, and he considered himself a successor to the first two men to hold the office, Samuel Huntington and Thomas McKean. He was the first to serve a full one-year term, and the first to formally use the title President of the United States in Congress Assembled.

The following men served as President of the United States in Congress Assembled:


  1. ^  On March 1, 1781 the title of the office changed, but Samuel Huntington remained in the chair.
  2. ^  Continuation of term begun before official change of title.
  3. ^  Thomas McKean was the first President simply titled “President of the United States” in any official documents.


The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America.

It was completed on September 17, 1787, with its adoption by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was later ratified by special conventions in each state. It created a federal union of sovereign states, and a federal government to operate that union. It replaced the less defined union that had existed under the Articles of Confederation. It took effect in 1789 and has served as a model for the constitutions of numerous other nations. The Constitution of the United States of America is the oldest written national constitution in use.

The Preamble reads:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Preamble neither grants any powers nor inhibits any actions; it only explains the rationale behind the Constitution. The Preamble, especially the first three words ("We the people"), is one of the most quoted and referenced sections of the Constitution.

  Presidents of the United States of America under the New Constitution
Chronological Order:
1789 to 1889
Chronological Order:
1889 to Present
Portrait of George Washington Washington, George
Portrait of Benjamin Harrison Harrison, Benjamin
Portrait of John Adams Adams, John
Portrait of Grover Cleveland Cleveland, Grover
Portrait of Thomas Jefferson Jefferson, Thomas
Portrait of William McKinley McKinley, William
Portrait of James Madison Madison, James
Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt Roosevelt, Theodore
Portrait of James Monroe Monroe, James
Portrait of William Howard Taft Taft, William H.
Portrait of John Quincy Adams Adams, John Quincy


Portrait of Woodrow Wilson Wilson, Woodrow
Portrait of Andrew Jackson Jackson, Andrew
Portrait of Warren Harding Harding, Warren
Portrait of Martin Van Buren Van Buren, Martin
Portrait of Calvin Coolidge Coolidge, Calvin
Portrait of William Henry Harrison Harrison, William Henry
Portrait of Herbert Hoover Hoover, Herbert
Portrait of John Tyler Tyler, John
Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt Roosevelt, Franklin D.
Portrait of James Polk Polk, James
Portrait of Harry Truman Truman, Harry
Portrait of Zachary Taylor Taylor, Zachary
Portrait of Dwight Eisenhower Eisenhower, Dwight
Portrait of Millard Fillmore Fillmore, Millard
Portrait of John Kennedy Kennedy, John F.
Portrait of Franklin Pierce Pierce, Franklin
Portrait of Lyndon Johnson Johnson, Lyndon
Portrait of James Buchanan Buchanan, James
Portrait of Richard Nixon Nixon, Richard
Portrait of Abraham Lincoln Lincoln, Abraham
Portrait of Gerald Ford Ford, Gerald
Portrait of Andrew Johnson Johnson, Andrew


Portrait of Jimmy Carter Carter, Jimmy
Portrait of Ulysses Grant Grant, Ulysses S.
Portrait of Ronald Reagan Reagan, Ronald
Portrait of Rutherford Hayes Hayes, Rutherford B.
Portrait of George H.W. Bush Bush, George H.W.
Portrait of James Garfield Garfield, James
Portrait of William Clinton Clinton, William J.
Portrait of Chester Arthur Arthur, Chester
Portrait of George W. Bush Bush, George W.
Portrait of Grover Cleveland Cleveland, Grover

[ Presidents by Name ]

The President biographies presented here are from the book The Presidents of the United States of America written by Frank Freidel and Hugh S. Sidey (contributing author), published by the White House Historical Association with the cooperation of the National Geographic Society.


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