Happy President’s Day

On February 17, 1776, the first volume of Gibbon’s “Decline & Fall of Roman Empire” was published. A few months later on July 4, 1776, a new empire was born which was to become known as the United States. This new empire didn’t seem to have a mother, but it did have fathers. Founding fathers, that is. Among these founding fathers were five men who eventually became the first five presidents of the United States.

George Washington-The First President of the United States

George Washington-The First President of the United States

Back in the 1880s, when the birthday of Washington—commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution as well as the first American Preside—was first celebrated as a national holiday. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved several national holidays to Mondays. This change was designed to schedule certain holidays which enabled the labor force to have more long weekends throughout the year, but it has been opposed by those who believe that those holidays should be celebrated on the dates they commemorated. During Congressional debate, someone proposed that Washington’s Birthday be renamed Presidents’ Day in honor of all presidents.

At first, Congress rejected the name change, but when the bill went into effect in 1971, Presidents’ Day had became the commonly accepted name. Retailers had picked up on the name and it stuck.  This holiday on the third Monday of February is marked by public ceremonies throughout the country.

John Adams-The Second President of the United States

John Adams-The Second President of the United States

The second President of the United States was John Adams. Although he rose in popularity due to his opposition to the Stamp Act of  1765, he didn’t believe in violence and against popular opinion he had defended in court the soldiers tried for their participation in what we Americans now call the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770.

He became one of the men assigned to help draft the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In 1785 he became the first US minister to England. He became the first US Vice President and served from 1789-1796. He became the second President of the United States and served from 1796-1800. Thomas Jefferson

Another founding father became the third president of the United States was Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, a plantation owner from Virginia was the author of the Declaration of Independent.  After writing the Declaration of Independence, served from 1776-1779 in the  Virginia House of Delegates.After which he was elected Virginia’s second governor. After the death of his wife in 1785, he became the second US minister to France. He returned to America in 1789 and became the first US Secretary of State under the new Constitution. In 1797 he became the Vice President under John Adams and in 1800 he was elected President of the United States. In 1803 his most significant accomplishment as president was the Louisiana Purchase which nearly doubled the size of the country. After his presidency ended in 1809, he returned to his plantation where he died on July 4, 1826, (the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence)  just a few hours after John Adams died.

The fourth president of the United States was James Madison. He wrote the first drafts of the US Constitution, in 1787,  co-wrote the Federalist Papers in 1788 and sponsored the Bill of Rights in 1789. In 1800 he helped President Thomas Jefferson establish the Democrat-Republican Party. He became the fourth President of the United States in 1808. James Madison

James Madison wrote the first drafts of the U.S. Constitution, co-wrote the Federalist Papers and sponsored the Bill of Rights. He established the Democrat-Republican Party with President Thomas Jefferson, and became president himself in 1808. Madison initiated the War of 1812, because US merchant ships where preyed upon by pirates and England and France were seizing US ships and crew. This first US declared war ended in 1815 after the Battle of New Orleans commanded by Andrew Jackson. After Madison’s second term ended, he retired from politics to his Montpelier estate in Virginia where he died on June 28, 1836.

The fifth President of the United States, James Monroe was the last of President who was a founding father. He fought in the American Revolution where he was wounded during the Battle of Trenton. James MonroeHe studied under Thomas Jefferson from 1780-1783 and served as a delegate in the Continental Congress. He was an anti-federalist delegate to the Virginia convention assigned to consider the ratification of the Constitution of the United States. He was elected to the United States Senate in 1790 and helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. He was the Secretary of State and the Secretary of War during the War of 1812. He became President of the United States in 1816. He drew a line in the sand against European intervention against the independent countries in the Americans with his Monroe Doctrine in 1823. He died was the third one to die on Independence day. He died on July 4, 1831 in New York.

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