Traditionally, our grade school history text books teach us that George Washington was the first president of the United States. However, what most Americans do not realize is that he was the first president under the Second or “New” Constitution. A very important group of men came before George Washington and actually accepted his resignation from the army (in Annapolis’ Old Senate Chamber of the State House), paving the way for lasting civilian rule. These 14 men served our country from 1774-1784 under the United States First Constitution; they are the “14 Forgotten Presidents of Congress”.
These men accomplished extraordinary feats while establishing the beginnings of the organized United States Government. Many of these presidents, who served under the Articles of Confederation, were also signers of the Declaration of Independence. Moreover, they guided the colonies through the Revolutionary War and then negotiated with France to sign the Treaty of Paris. These significant happenings are only a number of undertakings that these 14 men accomplished during the first 14 years of our country’s history.
This rich history is overlooked, which is why our very own Managing and Senior Partner, Sam Brown, and his two brothers, George and Stephen, set out to collect the signatures of these “lost” 14 Presidents and bring their priceless history to light. They have donated the collected signatures to the Annapolis Continental Congress Society Center in Annapolis, an organization that focuses on teaching Maryland “How the United States became America”. Most recently, the Brown brothers’ historic documents were on display at the second annual Continental Congress Festival in historic downtown Annapolis.
Our country and its leaders overcame centuries of trials and tribulations, cultivating the democratic system that organizes us and perfecting the implementation of the apt laws that guide us today. Help encourage public interest and keep our past alive. We invite you to visit the display at the Treaty of Paris Restaurant’s Crab and Crown Room and bring a friend. For more information online, view the “Brown Brothers Historic Documents” feature in the Capital Gazette.