I'm reading a book1 covering the events around The Independence of United States from Britain, which happened on 4th July in 1776. However, the first US president was George Washington and he was in office from April 30, 1789 till March 4, 1797.

What happened in this period of nearly fifteen years, from 1776 to 1789, was there another leader/ president2 before G. Washington?

1. Benjamin Franklin - An American Life - by Walter Isaacson.

2. The official list of presidents starts with G. Washington.

  • Are you looking for something in particular that wasn't answered here? Nov 14, 2016 at 16:35
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    The question is, from a study of history perspective, basic trivia that is easily answered by Wikipedia. Nov 14, 2016 at 16:52
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    See Why did I get a downvote?, which is also applicable to close votes. Nov 14, 2016 at 16:54
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    The simple (and perhaps simplistic, but what else can you fit in a comment?) reason is that the United States didn't actually exist as a political entity until the Constitution was ratified. Prior to that, the individual colonies were (per the Declaration of Independence) "Free and Independent States" joined in an alliance. Somewhat similar to the European Union today.
    – jamesqf
    Nov 14, 2016 at 18:52
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    @jamesqf could you please cast a vote to reopen the question so that you and others like you can answer it? Thanks!
    – Ziezi
    Nov 15, 2016 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


During the period between the Revolution and the Constitution, the states were joined in the Articles of Confederation. The Articles didn't include a position called "President" (and in fact opposed the notion of a strong executive).

The Articles were ineffective - the government was unable to collect taxes or implement policy and there was widespread discontent at the "licentious behavior" permitted by the Articles. Several leaders summoned the Annapolis Convention to try to find a way out of the problem. The participants decided that the problem could not be solved; they called for a broader convention in Philadelphia that became the first Constitutional Convention.

George Washington was one of the movers and shakers of this period. Although retired from public life he carried out extensive letter writing campaigns and hosted strategy sessions at Mt. Vernon.

In addition to the wikipedia pages, I'd recommend Pauline Maier's Ratification.

I'm going to repeat called2voyages excellent recommendation, because comments are ephemeral.

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    Excellent question excellent answer. Nov 14, 2016 at 21:17

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