John Hanson was the first president of the Continental Congress under the Articles of the Confederation. Although some refer to him as the first president of the United States, the presidency did not exist as a separate position from Congress until 1789 when George Washington became the first president.
Hanson was born to farmers in Charles County, Maryland, and was self-educated. His political career began when he was elected to the Maryland Colonial Assembly in 1757. He was part of the Annapolis Convention, later renamed the Assembly of Freemen, that gained control over the colony in 1774. Hanson then served on the Continental Congress from 1780 to 1782, which included a term as president of Congress. Thus, Hanson was president of the Continental Congress but was never president of the United States.