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John Hanson, a Liberian Senator, Mistakenly Confused as American’s First President | Chocolate City: The Best African American Blog
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John Hanson, a Liberian Senator, Mistakenly Confused as American’s First President


John Hanson, a Liberian Senator from Grand Bassa County is often confused as American’s first president.
John Hanson, a Liberian Senator from Grand Bassa County is often confused as American’s first president.

John Hanson, a Liberian Senator from Grand Bassa County, Liberia is mistakenly confused by some to be the first black president of America. Hanson, an African-American political activist was a supporter of the American Colonization Society (ACS). Established in 1816, the ACS was founded by a group comprising of philanthropists, clergies, abolitionists and slave owners with the primary purpose of freeing the slaves and literally kicking them out of the United States of America, to some-land purchased in Africa, known today as Liberia – the land of the free!

Historians think that sending the slaves back to Africa was not ACS' original idea. During the early 1800s , Paul Cuffee, a wealthy African American who was also the owner of

an immensely  successful shipping business, was unable to withstand the unbearable, barbaric and inhumane treatment of his fellow blacks advocated for the “repatriation” of freed blacks back to West Africa. Cuffee personally financed several voyages. Cuffee's father, Kofi, an African of the Akan tribe of Ghana was set free by his slave owner. His mother, Ruth Moses, was a Native American of the Wampanoag tribe from Martha’s Vineyard. Cuffee gained support from black leaders and members of the U.S. Congress for an emigration plan. In 1811, Cuffee, with a crew of 9 black sailors and free slaves left Philadelphia for Sierra Leone, West Africa aboard his flagship, The Traveler. Cuffee made additional trip from 1815-1816 until his untimely death in 1817.

Why is the African-American John Hanson confused with the Caucasian Hanson?

John Hanson, the African-America senator is often confused with a Caucasian with similar name. The African-American Hanson, left the United States in 1830, and settled in Monrovia. He later became a Senator for Grand Bassa County. Grand Bassa County is one of Liberia's 16-counties. A county in Liberia is equivalent to a state in the United States.

The Caucasian John Hanson was a merchant and public official from Maryland during the era of the American Revolution. On March 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation, which had been passed by the Continental Congress in 1777, finally came into force with ratification by Maryland. On October 19 of the same year, British General Cornwallis surrendered a large army to General George Washington, effectively ending the Revolutionary War. Days later, the Continental Congress elected John Hanson of Maryland the "President of the United States in Congress Assembled" with no dissenting votes. On paper, the role was largely ceremonial, with its only specified duty being presiding over the Congress; however, some people believe Hanson was integral to a number of important actions.


Other African-Americans Presidents before President Obama

To discontinue the shocking ignorance of history and put it to rest once and for all – there was never an African-America president by the name of John Hanson!

However, one hundred and sixty one years before Barack Obama became president, Joseph Jenkin Roberts, born a free man in Norfolk, Virginia, USA on March 15, 1809, became the first African-American President of Liberia. In total, there were 10 previous Black American or African-American born individuals who also became presidents of Liberia.

They were, namely: Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Stephen Allen Benson, Daniel Bashiel Warner, James Spriggs Payne, Edward James Roye, James Skivring Smith, Anthony William Gardner, Alfred Francis Russell, William David Coleman and Garretson Wilmot Gibson.

The Commonwealth of Liberia was founded by the ACS in 1822 with financial and administrative assistance from the ACS. The Republic of Liberia is the only country in Africa that was never colonized by the United States of America or Europe's land-grabbers.

An example of ACS' Administrative Assistance – Liberian Citizenship – Blacks Only Need Apply

The first assistance offered by the ACS was the service of Simon Greenleaf, a white American lawyer, jurist and one of the principle founders of Harvard Law School. While in the United States, Greenleaf single-handed prepared a draft constitution for the newly formed Commonwealth of Liberia in West Africa. In June 1846, Greenleaf's draft constitution was sent to the Commonwealth which later became the Republic of Liberia. In January 1847, the Commonwealth received “additional constitutional articles" from Greenleaf. Twelve delegates from the then three counties (Montserrado, Grand Bassa and Sinoe) of the Commonwealth were represented at the convention. Teage was made chairman of the committee on the preamble and bill of rights and requested to draft the Declaration of Independence. The convention seems to have found inappropriate much of Greenleaf's "proposals" and altered parts of the Constitution. A full document containing Teage's committee report on the preamble and bill of rights was ready and approved by July 28. Two days earlier the Declaration of Independence had been approved.

Liberian political scholars believe that Teage and his committee added or changed Sections 12 and 13 of Article V of the Liberian Constitution.  Sections 12 and 13 of Article V of the Liberian Constitution restricts the ownership of property and citizenship rights in Liberia to only black people. Others believed Professor Greenleaf intentionally left Sections 12 and 13 in the draft. “

In July 2013, Liberia will celebrate its 166th years of existence. At such a mature-age of existence, one would assume that Liberia's GDP is comparable to that of a 'developed country”. However, Liberia appears to be plagued with an apparent “generational curse” of rampant corruption. Self-centered hypocrites and sycophants disguised as politicians seek positions with the sole purpose of pouring money in their foreign accounts while extending their hands out for more-and-more aids.

Despite the many discoveries from Liberia's prolific oil and mineral fields, the country's unemployment rate is near an UNACCEPTABLE 85 percent and the World Bank estimates 95 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day. Somalia without a functioning government appears to have a better unemployment percent.

The lack of basic and rudimentary infrastructure such as water supply, sanitation, electricity, roads, drainage, schools, health centers, market places etc. clearly signals an inept, ineffective and bad governance that lacks the basic strategic management skills.


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