Is Mint snubbing real 1st president?

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Instead of the grim visage of George Washington staring out from the hard metal of the new $1 presidential coins, imagine the face of one-time cooper's apprentice — and Connecticut native — Samuel Huntington. That, according to historian Stanley Klos, is who should have been on the coin that entered circulation last week.

Klos, a Florida resident, has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and threatened to file for an injunction to stop the further distribution of the U.S. Mint's presidential coins, unless the Mint acknowledges the 10 men who served as president of the United States before Washington.

Klos' FTC complaint charges the Mint with propagating myths as history. He said he is not looking to stop the use of the coins, or even to get coins for the men who have been slighted; he just wants this nation to acknowledge its past.

The controversy arose because the Mint and Congress decided to honor the presidents who have served the nation under its second Constitution, ratified in 1788. (That's the one that starts, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union&")

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Stanley L. Klos - 4/2/2007

You are indeed correct, Henry Laurens was the President of Congress as the Articles of Confederation was not ratified until March 1, 1781. On that date, however, the Continental Congress ceased to exist, the Articles of Association were rendered void and The United States in Congress Assembled became the new unicameral government of the Perpetual Union of the United States of America. Samuel Huntington’s official title became President of the United States in Congress Assembled.

These Presidents signed congressional laws, treaties, and military orders as President of the United States and President of the United States of America. They called for Congressional assembly and adjournment. Presidents signed military commissions, received foreign dignitaries, received, read, answered, and at their own discretion held or disseminated the official mail addressed to the United States in Congress Assembled and the President of the United States in Congress Assembled. The Presidents each had one vote in the Unicameral Congress. The Presidents also presided, much like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, over judicial Congressional Cases.

It should be noted that the Treaty that ended the war with Great Britain was signed as:

Given under the seal of the United States. Witness his Excellency THOMAS MIFFLIN, our President, at Annapolis, this 14th day of January 1784, and of the sovereignty and independence of the United States of America, the eighth.

which can be viewed at the national archives.

To dismiss these men as merely Presidents of Congress is a gross error in history.

Yes their role was that as presiding officers but their official title was, never-the-less, President of the United States in Congress Assembled. The fact that the 2nd U.S. Constitution vastly changed the office of President of the United States in 1789 still doesn't erase the fact that from1781-1788 ten men served as Presidents of the United States under the 1st U.S. Constitution.

For a small sampling of the hundreds of official US documents signed by these men as Presidents of the U.S. go to:

John R. Maass - 2/22/2007

This is a fine example of how too much knowledge is dangerous. OK, if not dangerous, it at least makes one look like a fool. Some folks have evidently caught on that prior to the US Constitution, we had a government and some even figure out that it operated under the Articles of Confederation. However, as is well known to most historians if not a CT newspaper reporter, Samuel Huntington was NOT the president of the US. He was the president of the Congress, as was Henry Laurens and a number of other distinguished men prior to GW.