first american republic This website is designed to be an introduction to, supplement to, and companion to the book 'THE FIRST AMERICAN REPUBLIC: 1774-1789
(The First Fourteen American Presidents Before Washington)'

Chapter 8: President JOHN HANSON of Maryland 

Mistaken Identity

first american republic In this country, the highest honor that a state and the nation can bestow on one of its own is to have a statue placed in the United States Capitol. John Hanson of Maryland, the eighth President of the Continental Congress, has been accorded that exceptional recognition.

This custom began in 1864, by Act of Congress, when each state was invited to present to the nation life-size images of its two most distinguished citizens. On December 15, 1902, the Governor of Maryland informed Congress that his state had completed its selection and that Maryland's two favorite sons--John Hanson, President of the Continental Congress, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence--stood ready for admission. On Saturday afternoon, January 31, 1903, bronze statues of Hanson and Carroll (both sculpted by Richard E. Brooks of Boston) were unveiled in Statuary Hall, the old chamber of the House of Representatives which now serves as America's Pantheon.

President John Hanson earned such historic recognition through his determination to guarantee that land west of the Appalachian Mountains would one-day form new states. On behalf of Maryland, he led the fight to force Virginia as well as several other states to abandon their claims to millions of acres on the western frontier. Despite intense pressure, John and his Maryland colleagues refused to ratify the Articles of Confederation until their demands were met. In doing so, he helped to build the foundation for the future. As Senator Louis McComas of Maryland proclaimed at the unveiling in 1903: "John Hansons name will be associated forever with laying the corner stone of our great nation..."