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Letter to the editor: The real first U.S. president named

In his thoughtful essay on the Articles of Confederation, Victor Nuovo missed a golden opportunity to provide the answer to an obscure trivia question, namely, “Who was the first president of the United States?” The answer, of course, is John Hanson, “the first President of the United States in Congress assembled,” elected under the Articles of Confederation in November 1781. (see Morris, Richard B. “The Origins of the Presidency.” Presidential Studies Quarterly 17, no. 4 (1987): 673-87.) It is true that Morris states that Hanson’s claim is tenuous and that several others could make a similar claim. Nevertheless, a chance to briefly knock George Washington off his lofty perch should not be missed, given the rarity of such opportunities.
Michael Lynch
Ferrisburgh

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