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The Hall of Presidents Before Washington
is a FREE, open-to-the-public exhibit that includes the "America's 14 Forgotten Presidents Before Washington" collection of original, signed documents (one for each president) owned by brothers George, Sam, and Dr. Steve Brown. This exhibit is located inside the Westin in the Presidents Hill neighborhood of Annapolis.
After the Revolutionary War ended, when General George Washington (standing, center) retired as Commander-in-Chief on December 23, 1783 in Annapolis, he handed his letter of resignation to the President.
Note in the upper left corner of Washington's letter that he addressed his resignation to "Mr. President." Since Washington wouldn't become president for another six years (1789), who was this "Mr. President"?
Now look closely once again at this portrait (above). Note on the far left the second man in, on the left side of the pillar (he's actually sitting down in the president's chair). That's President Thomas Mifflin. A close-up of President Mifflin is on the left. The man standing next to him (taller than anyone else) on the right side of the pillar is Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson.
Three weeks later, on January 14, 1784, President Mifflin signed the ratified version of the Treaty of Paris (left), which had been printed up to send back to Paris to be exchanged with the ratified version signed by King George. If you look in the upper left hand corner, you'll see President Mifflin's signature underneath the Seal of Congress, which proves that the treaty was ratified with a quorum. In the lower right corner, the very last paragraph, worded by Delegate to Congress Thomas Jefferson, says, "Given under the seal of the United States, witness His Excellency, Thomas Mifflin, our President, at Annapolis, this fourteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-four."

George Washington  and  Thomas Jefferson called Thomas Mifflin "President".   How can that be?

The Articles of Confederation
Passed in 1777, ratified in 1781.
The Articles of Confederation were ratified when Maryland, led by Delegate John Hanson, approved them in 1781.
Because George Washington was the first president of the second Constitution (right). The first constitution of the United States was the Articles of Confederation (left), which created a unicameral, non-partisan Congress just like the one that had presided over both Continental Congresses. Its delegates were appointed by the state legislatures (which were elected by each state's citizens).
Congress had begun choosing presidents before the Articles of Confederation were passed; indeed, even before the Declaration of Independence.
Much like a parliamentary system, the president was also a member of Congress. O
verall, fourteen different men held the title of President between 1774 and 1788, when the new Constitution was ratified. The British officially recognized Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania as president after the exchange of the ratified versions of the Treaty of Paris on May 12, 1784.
The Constitution
Passed in 1787, ratified in 1788 (it went into effect in 1789)
Cyrus Griffin of Virginia was the last President to serve under the Articles of Confederation.

Why isn't this history taught in our public schools?

Some do; most don't. The first American Republic was a regional alliance with trading privileges and a common defense policy against foreign nations, not unlike the European Union. Gradually, the states decided that a stronger central government was needed in order to fulfill its financial obligations left over from the Revolutionary War, and once the new Constitution created a very different government--a separately elected President that is not a member of Congress, a bicameral legislature, and an independent judiciary--the Articles of Confederation, and its presidents, faded further into history with each passing year. Since 2012, we've tried to revive this neglected history by bringing the 14 Forgotten Presidents back to life through monthly events, televised seminars, newspaper articles and annual festivals.
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