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 12: President NATHANIEL GORHAM of Massachusetts 

Unrequited Honor

first american republic Nathaniel Gorham, the Speaker of the Massachusetts General Assembly, was elected by his legislative colleagues in 1782 to serve as a Delegate to the Continental Congress. Four years later he was chosen by that body to become America's Twelfth President. In 1787, following the completion of his term as Head of State, Nathaniel was again elected to represent Massachusetts at the Philadelphia conclave that became known as the Constitutional Convention. There, he was unanimously selected to serve as Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, presiding over weeks of historic debates as he and his fellow delegates wrote their country's new charter. And then, in 1788, the citizens of Charlestown, Massachusetts entrusted Nathaniel with the responsibility of representing them at their State's Ratification Convention where he played a critical role in securing "the consent of the governed" for the new United States Constitution

Beyond his remarkable role in the Revolution, Nathaniel Gorham was also the only President of the First American Republic who could trace his lineage to the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620.

Despite his family history and his repeated recognition at the highest levels of both his state and his nation, Nathaniel Gorham's grave at Phipps Street Burying Ground in Charlestown (only a few blocks from the Bunker Hill Monument), went unmarked for nearly two centuries. Even more shocking, this distinguished patriot has never been accorded a full-scale biography nor even been the subject of a doctoral dissertation. In fact, this brief chapter marks the longest biographical sketch that has ever been devoted to his life.