Hanson, John,1715–83, first "President of the United States in Congress Assembled," b. Charles co., Maryland. He served in the Maryland provincial legislature, was active in the patriot cause in the Revolution, and was (1780–82) a member of the Continental Congress. Since he was the first President to serve the one-year term (1781–82), under the Articles of Confederation, Hanson is sometimes referred to as the first President of the United States. His duties were, however, merely those of a presiding officer and bore no relation to the duties of the President under the Constitution.
See biography by S. W. Smith (1932).
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Hanson, John(1715–83) colonial and Revolutionary official; born in Charles County, Md. He served in the Maryland Assembly almost continuously from 1757 to 1779. He signed the Association of the Freemen of Maryland (1775), which approved armed resistance against the British. Elected to the Continental Congress in 1779, he signed the Articles of Confederation (1781) and then served as president of the Congress of the Confederacy—some historians have therefore called him "the first president of the United States." He worked to free the public lands to the west from the control of individual states, especially Virginia.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.