President of the Continental Congress
September 28, 1779 to February 28, 1781
Stanley L. Klos
HUNTINGTON was born on July 16,
1731 at Scotland, Connecticut, the
son of a Puritan farmer. Thedate of July 16th differs from the official
Congressional Biography as during the restoration of the tomb
a 207 year old plaque
was discovered with the bodies
Samuel Huntington Esq.
Governor of the State of Connecticut
was born July 16th AD 1731
and died January 5th AD 1796
aged 64 years
Both Martha and Samuel Huntington were re-interred on November 24, 2003 Old
Norwichtown Cemetery, Norwich, New London County, Connecticut (see
President Huntington was a
self-educated man who at age sixteen, was apprenticed to a cooper. He taught
himself Latin at night and devoured every book on law he could find. At
twenty-seven he was admitted to the bar, then moved to Norwich, a larger town
offering more opportunity. After a year, however, he married
the local minister's daughter, and set up what would eventually become a most
lucrative law practice.
In 1764, Huntington was
elected to the provincial assembly, and in quick succession became a justice of
the peace, the king's attorney for Connecticut, and a member of the colony's
council. He was elected and served in the second Continental Congress of the
United Colonies of America representing Connecticut at Independence Hall in
Huntington worked hard and
long for independence, however quietly. A fellow delegate wrote:
He is a man of mild,
steady, and firm conduct and of sound methodical judgment, tho' not a man of
many words or very shining abilities. But upon the whole is better suited
to preside than any other member now in Congress.
After signing the Declaration, Huntington
served in the Continental Congress for three more years when, on September
28, 1779, he was elected President. Huntington presided over the
Confederation Congress during a critical period in the War for Independence. His commitment to Independence and his Presidency is renowned among
scholars as his unwavering leadership held our nation together during a
succession of military losses, sedition and defections:
October 10th, 1779 - American attempt to recapture
Savannah, GA fails.
Winter of 1779-80 - was the coldest of the war and
provisions for Washington and his army were scarce Morristown, NJ. causing a
May 12, 1780 - British capture Charleston, SC.
May 1780 - Former
Continental Congress President Henry Middletonpledgeshis allegiance
to the crown after the Fall of Charleston.
May 29, 1780 - British crush Americans at Waxhaw Creek.
August 16, 1780 - British rout Americans at Camden,
September 25, 1780 - Major General Benedict Arnold's plans to
cede West Point to the British discovered.
January 1, 1781 - Mutiny of unpaid Pennsylvania
January 14, 1781 - Benedict Arnold burns Richmond.
March 15, 1781 - British win costly victory
at Guilford Courthouse, NC.
April 25, 1781 - General Greene defeated at
Hobkirk's Hill, SC.
May 15, 1781 - Cornwallis clashed with Greene at
Guilford Courthouse, NC.
June 6, 1781 - British hold off Americans at Ninety
Six, SC .
July 6, 1781 - General Anthony Wayne repulsed at
Green Springs Farm, VA
By the fall of 1780 three years had elapsed since
Burgoyne's surrender at
Saratoga. The fortunes of the Americans, instead of improving, had grown
worse to the point of desperation. France’s aid had thus far proved to be quite
minor, the southern army had been annihilated, US paper money, the Continental
had become worthless, US credit abroad hinged on the dwindling fortunes of
patriots like Robert Morris and Haym Salomon. The founding Articles of Confederation
which were to form the perpetual Union of the United States of America, after
four years, had yet to be ratified. Legally, the nation that sought
foreign recognition and aid was not a united country as its own
"constitution" was no ratified by all 13 states. Prospects of the United
States's survival were far past bleak as the country had never been
The army, clothed in rags, half-starved and not paid,
was ripe for the mutiny and desertions to the British lines averaged more than
100 a month. Samuel Huntington's Presidential Predecessor, former
Continental Congress President Henry Middleton betrayed his fellow patriots and
declared a renewed loyalty to King George III. Even George Washington wrote
that "he had almost ceased to hope."
In the summer of 1780 the spirit of desertion now seized
Washington's greatest General, Benedict Arnold, with whom the British commander
had for some time tampered through the mediation of
John Andre and an American loyalist, Beverley Robinson. Stung by the
injustice he had suffered, and influenced by history surroundings,
Arnold made up his mind to play a part like
that which General Monk had played in the restoration of Charles II to the
British throne. By putting the British in possession of the Hudson river at West
Point, Arnold would deliver the British all that they had sought to obtain by
the campaigns of 1776-'77. Once West Point was secured the American cause would
thus become so hopeless that an occasion would be offered for negotiation.
Want to know
about Samuel Huntington and the 9 other US Presidents before George
Washington? Please buy our book so we can keep the
research and the 30,000+ FamousAmericans.net Sites Going.
President Who? Forgotten
In this landmark work on Early
Presidential History, Historian Stanley L. Klos unravels the complex birth of
the US Presidency while providing captivating biographies on the Four Presidents
of the Continental Congress and ten Presidents of the United States before
George Washington. The book is filled with actual photographs of
Pre-Constitutional letters, resolutions, treaties, and laws enacted by the
Confederation Congress and signed by the Presidents of the Confederation
Congress as “President of the United States.”
From the United Colonies Birth in 1774 to the Constitutional Convention of 1787
the author clearly and concisely maps out the role and duties of the Presidents
who led the fledging nation through the Revolutionary War and the formation of
the United States under the Articles of Confederation. Accounts include the
birth of the Presidency and the United Colonies in Philadelphia’s City Tavern
(Yes the first “convening” of the
Continental Congress occurred in a tavern), the US Capitol
“road show” as it moved from town to town fleeing the British
Military Forces, the 1781ratification of the Articles of Confederation in
Philadelphia forming the first US Presidency, the entire US Government being
held hostage in Independence Hall in 1783 by its own Military, the near collapse
of Confederation Government in 1786 due to its failure to govern under the
threat of Shay’s Rebellion, the rebirth of the United States under the
Philadelphia Convention of 1787 called to revise the Articles of Confederation
and finally President Abraham Lincoln’s use of the Articles of Confederation as
his central legal argument to “Preserve the Perpetual Union of the United
States of America” in 1861.
Click Here to
View Norwich Bulletin Feb. 19, 2004 Story
PRAISE FOR President Who?
This is a brilliant and most enjoyable
book which helps us to rediscover our rich history and heritage. Stan Klos
clearly establishes that Virginia -- not Delaware -- became the first State in
the Perpetual Union of the United States America ... because it was the first to
ratify the Articles of Confederation (1779). You too will want to read his
documentation complete with photographs and facsimiles of primary source
documents of our lively and enlightening Americana history.
-- G. William Thomas, Jr., President,
James Monroe Memorial Foundation
A well-written and extremely thought provoking piece of historical scholarship.
By using extensive primary source materials, Stan Klos effectively proves his
point that from 1781 to 1789 ten men served as President of the United States in
Congress Assembled. Mr. Klos does not wish to displace George Washington as
"Father of Our Country." Rather, Mr. Klos is seeking recognition for
Washington's predecessors. A must read for anyone interested in American
-- Greg Priore
Archivist, William R. Oliver Special Collections Room
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
It is a masterpiece in defining presidential
history. Stanley Klos clearly presents the historic path of the presidency
beginning with the first President of the United States in Congress Assembled
Samuel Huntington, to the eleventh President, George Washington. It is a must
read for any serious student of American History.
-- Senator Bill Stanley
President of the Norwich Historical Society
… a thought provoking argument for “righting” our
history books about the very early years of our democracy. Samuel Huntington,
His Excellency the President of the United States in Congress Assembled, indeed!
- Lee Langston-Harrison, Curator
James Madison’s Montpelier
The Vice President
Speaker of the House
President pro tempore of the Senate
Secretary of State
Secretary of the Treasury
Secretary of Defense
Secretary of the Interior
Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary of Commerce
Secretary of Labor
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary of Transportation
Secretary of Energy
Secretary of Education
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
The United States of America was actually
formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The Articles of Confederation by
Maryland whose delegates delayed its ratification over a western border dispute
with Virginia and New York. Upon the March 1 ratification the President of the
Continental Congress officially became President
of the United States in Congress Assembled.
To make matters even more perplexing some
historians claim that John Hanson was the first
President of the United States as he was the first person to serve the full
one-year term (1781–82), under the ratified Articles of Confederation.
This again is incorrect.
The ratification occurred during the term of
Samuel Huntington who served as President from September 28, 1779 to July 6,
1781. Consequently, Samuel Huntington was the first
President of the United States in Congress Assembled.
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