Under the current U.S. Constitution, George Washington was the first President, and the first with executive branch authority.
However, he was not the first with the title of President. Peyton Randoph, a former Speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses, was elected the first President of the Continental Congress, serving from September 5 to October 22, 1774. He was also the third President, serving for about two weeks in May 1775.
This President was not an executive, just a moderator presiding over debate in the Continental Congress, similar to the President pro tempore of the Senate today.
Amazing, I should have known that someone on Hubs would know their history! What about John Hensen though?
Thanks for your quick reply.
John Hanson was the first full-term President under the Articles of Confederation, but there were two earlier Congresses with presiding officers titled President. By that standard, Hanson was the 16th or 17th President.
Now this brings up a fond memory. Years ago I was sitting in the office of the CEO and founder of now what is a Fortune 500 Company. This guy was a former history professor. He asked me the very question you ask. I didn't get it right. He pointed to a portrait of John Hanson on the wall in his office and explained why he was the first president. I didn't argue, and he hired me.
It was George Washington. The people before him (John Hansen and the rest) were under the Articles of Confederation. They were more like a prime minister or speaker of the house.
Well I would have said George Washington, and I suppose looking at the US Constitution I'd have been right.
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