I trust that every day I will learn something new. If not, it is a day wasted. One morning when I was getting ready to leave the house, the news was all about the election coming up. At that time I was told by a family member that the next president will be the 47th after the Constitution was written.
There were others before that. So, my project for the day became finding out who the presidents were who served before the Constitution was written.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Henry Laurens (1724-1792) He was the only American president ever to be held as a prisoner of war by a foreign power.
- John Jay (1745-1829) Jay was a Founding Father who, by a quirk of fate, missed signing the Declaration Of Independence—he had temporarily left the Continental Congress to serve in New York’s revolutionary legislature.
- Samuel Huntington (1732-1796) He was 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.
- Thomas McKean (1734-1817) He held almost every possible position —from deputy county attorney to President of the United States under the Confederation. He contributed significantly to the development and establishment of constitutional government in his home state of Del-aware and the nation.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Nathaniel Gorham (1738-1796) 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.
- 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.
- Cyrus Griffin (1736-1796) 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.
I found this information under Forgotten Presidents on the Internet. There was much more written about these men but I chose only a descriptive line for each.
Kitty Maiden is a staff writer for Seniors Today.