The First U.S. President

Contrary to what you may have been taught in school, George Washington was not the first President of the United States. This honor goes to John Hanson who was chosen unanimously in 1781 as the first president by the U.S. Congress under the Articles of Confederation. In fact, all the potential candidates, including Washington, refused to run against this key signer of the Declaration of Independence. Back then, John Hanson was a well known and respected patriot who lived in Maryland opposite Mount Vernon.
As the first President, Hanson accepted a difficult job. No one had ever been President and the role was poorly defined. His actions in office would set precedent for all future Presidents. He took office just as the Revolutionary War ended. Almost immediately, the troops demanded to be paid. As would be expected after any long war, there were no funds to meet the salaries. As a result, the soldiers threatened to overthrow the new government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch. All the members of Congress ran for their lives, leaving Hanson running the government. He somehow managed to calm the troops and hold the country together. If he had failed, the government would have fallen almost immediately and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington. 
As the new president, Hanson established the Great Seal of the United States, which all Presidents have since been required to use on all official documents. President Hanson also established the first Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and the first Foreign Affairs Department. Lastly, he declared that the fourth Thursday of every November was to be Thanksgiving Day, which is still true today. 
The Articles of Confederation only allowed for a President to serve a one-year term, so John Hanson’s term was from November 5, 1781 until November 3, 1782. As you can see he was able to accomplish quite a bit in such a short time. Under the Articles of Confederation six other presidents were elected after John Hanson. They include Elias Boudinot (1783), Thomas Mifflin (1784), Richard Henry Lee (1785), Nathan Gorman (1786), Arthur St. Clair (1787), and Cyrus Griffin (1788) - all prior to Washington taking office. Why don't we ever hear about the first seven Presidents of the United States?  This is because the Articles of Confederation didn't work well and a new doctrine had to be written - something today we call the U.S. Constitution. 
George Washington was definitely not the first President of the United States. He was, however, the first President of the United States under the present Constitution we follow today.  We know and hear very little about the other seven U.S. Presidents who first served our country. They have been ignored by today’s historians, who glorify Washington and forget John Hanson.