July 2nd, 2015
Dear Honorable Governor and Maryland State Legislators:
On July 6th, 1781, Samuel Huntington, the first President of the United States in Congress Assembled (USCA) to serve under the Articles of Confederation, resigned his office in Philadelphia due to ill health. On July 9th, 1781, the USCA Delegates all chosen after their respective States had ratified Articles of Confederation Constitution elected Samuel Johnston from North Carolina, President. The following day, President-elect Johnston refused the office and the first USCA then elected Thomas McKean of Delaware, President and he accepted the office. President McKean served until the Second United States in Congress Assembled convened on November 5th, 1781, and elected Maryland Delegate John Hanson as the third USCA President to serve under the Articles of Confederation.
It would not be until January 31, 1903, that the United States Congress would disregard these historic facts and officially proclaim John Hanson as the first USCA President to serve under the Articles of Confederation. This official Congressional acknowledgement occurred at the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall Reception and Acceptance Ceremonies honoring inductees, Charles Carroll of Carrollton and President John Hanson. Since these ceremonies, the myth of John Hanson serving as the first President under the Articles of Confederation has been perpetuated by books, articles, and U.S. Postal FDCs, in voluminous Maryland State House legislation; and in Smithsonian Institute, National Archives, and Library of Congress exhibits. Recently, your state has bloviated this myth even further with a bill funding the effort to acknowledge Jane Hanson as the first “First Lady” of the United States of America -- The Jane Hanson National Memorial - General Assembly
Since my keynote address at the November 24th, 2003, re-entombment ceremonies of President Samuel and First Lady Martha Huntington, our team has been trying to right this 1903 fallacy perpetrated by Congress and at the State House in Maryland. In an effort to awaken Maryland legislators to the misnomers created by their predecessors, we brought our Historic.us primary source America’s Four Republics Exhibit to the 2012 Annapolis Continental Congress Festival, which featured the 1784 Treaty of Paris Ratification Broadside signed by USCA President Thomas Mifflin and Secretary Charles Thomson at the Maryland State House. Additionally, we brought in an original 1781 Journals of Congress issued by the USCA in 1782; letters and documents from the Presidents, Maryland Signers of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation and Constitution of 1787; and a 1786 printing of the Annapolis Convention’s Report to the USCA. When this effort to educate Maryland Legislators with primary source facts failed, we turned our attention to Capitol Hill. It has been a long battle but our determination finally blossomed and the federal government has begun to reverse its 1903 Articles of Confederation error. Specifically:
The Smithsonian Institute has removed The American Presidency, A Glorious Burden exhibit’s plaque reporting that John Hanson was the first President to serve under the Articles of Confederation. Additionally, on its website in April 2015, the Smithsonian Institute changed: “John Hanson served as the first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation from 1781 to 1782” --TO-- “John Hanson served as an early President of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation from 1781 to 1782.”
The National Archives, in May 2015, changed its website from: “When all the states ratified the Articles of Confederation in 1781, they voted for the first President. John Hanson from Maryland was the first man to serve as the elected President of Congress under the Articles of Confederation, thus making him acting President of the United States” --TO-- “When all the states ratified the Articles of Confederation in 1781, they voted for the first President. John Hanson from Maryland was the first man to serve a full, one year term as the elected President of Congress under the Articles of Confederation, thus making him (the third*) acting President of the United States. … *Although John Hanson was the first elected to the position to serve a full 1 year term, two other individuals were elected President during or after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation: Samuel Huntington (1779) and Thomas McKean (1781).”
The Library of Congress, in May 2015, changed its website from: “John Hanson (1715-1783), a delegate from Maryland, was electedthe first President of Congress under the Articles of Confederation. ... Some people claim that John Hanson rather than George Washington should be considered the first president." --TO-- "Between March 1, 1781, when the Articles of Confederation were enacted,and November 5, 1781, when a new Congress convened, Samuel Huntington andThomas McKean served briefly as presidents of the body. Samuel Johnston had declined the presidency when elected. When Congress met on November 5, 1781, it elected John Hanson (1715-1783), delegate from Maryland, as its president. In this letter, Charles Thomson (1729-1824), secretary of the Continental Congress informs George Washington of Hanson's election. According to the Articles, the president of Congress presided only over Congress; George Washington, chosen after the ratification of the Federal Constitution, was the first president of the United States."
To view the correspondence and web page images noted above as well as other federal government changes, please visit www.JohnHanson.org.
Now our attention has turned back to the People of Maryland and their elective Representatives. We respectfully request that that Governor and legislature cease and desist funding the promotion of:
1. The Articles of Confederation’s first congress commencing November 5, 1781, as opposed to March 1, 1781;
2. John Hanson serving as the first President of the United States of America;
3. John Hanson serving as the first President of Congress to serve under the Articles of Confederation;
4. John Hanson serving as the first President of Congress to be elected under the Articles of Confederation;
5. Jane Hanson serving as the first “First Lady” of the United States;
6. Jane Hanson serving as the first “First Lady” under the Articles of Confederation.
Be assured that if you persist in this folly, we will file for relief in your third branch of government.
Stanley Yavneh Klos
Author and Independent Scholar
2000 Louisiana Avenue - Venue 15696
New Orleans, LA 70115
tel: 202-239-1774 | firstname.lastname@example.org
PS - We contemplated sending this letter back in late May when all three federal institutions finally corrected these historical errors but thought it was best to wait until after the July 2nd and 4th Independence Day festivities.