Forgotten Founders Mission

Forgotten Founders Exhibit at RNC's CivicFest 2008

Mission Statement

The Forgotten Founders is an independent, non-partisan, and non-profit corporation dedicated to increasing public understanding of, and appreciation for, the three republics that ultimately formulated the current United States of America in 1789. The Forgotten Founders organization seeks the establishment of a Presidential Center whose mission is:

  • To secure  Head of State recognition for the four men who served as Continental Congress Presidents of the United Colonies of America;

Continental Congress of the United Colonies Presidents 
Sept. 5, 1774 to July 1, 1776

September 5, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 22, 1774
October 26, 1774
May 20, 1775
May 24, 1775
May 25, 1775
July 1, 1776

  • To secure U.S. Head of State  recognition for the four men who served as Continental Congress Presidents of the United States of America;

Continental Congress of the United States Presidents 
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781

July 2, 1776
October 29, 1777
November 1, 1777
December 9, 1778
December 10, 1778
September 28, 1779
September 29, 1779
February 28, 1781

Presidents of the United States in Congress Assembled
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789

March 1, 1781
July 6, 1781
July 9, 1781
Declined Office
July 10, 1781
November 4, 1781
November 5, 1781
November 3, 1782
November 4, 1782
November 2, 1783
November 3, 1783
June 3, 1784
November 30, 1784
November 22, 1785
November 23, 1785
June 5, 1786
June 6, 1786
February 1, 1787
February 2, 1787
January 21, 1788
January 22, 1788
January 21, 1789

  • To secure United States founding recognition for delegates, commissioners, judges, ministers, military officers and other government officials who served in the United Colonies and States of America's Republics from 1774 to 1788.
  • First Lady Recognition - Throughout American history, the First Lady has played an important role in hospitality. She serves and has served as hostess, adviser and, often, social activist – even before the Constitution of 1787. In 1776, George Washington served as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army but he was not the President of the United States; John Hancock was the elected President of the Continental Congress and in that position he signed the Declaration of Independence. As President, Mr. Hancock was considered the new nation’s Head of State. The Commander-in-Chief’s wife, Martha Washington, and the Continental Congress President’s wife, Dorothy Hancock, each took on the responsibilities of providing hospitality to important figures of the day.
Loyola University New Orleans Faculty Exhibit Research Collection at DNC's Politicalfes 
Additionally, the Forgotten Founders organization acts as a resource for citizens seeking to establish educational and research centers for the advancement of the public’s understanding of the 1774-1788 Presidents and the U.S. Founding period.

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200.

The Forgotten Founders organization upholds that a better public understanding of history, and its contemporary relevance, ultimately improves the effectiveness of “We The People” in the ongoing republic reformulation to protect and insure the continued success of U.S. free enterprise system.

Copyright © Stan Klos 2008-2012

Please Help Us With Our Mission

Historical Background on the United States 

Most U.S. Citizens know that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776, and that George Washington was the first U.S. President. Washington, however, did not take the oath as U.S. President until April 30th, 1789.  So who, between July 1776 and April 1789 signed the ratified treaties on behalf of the United States? Who decided what measures were to be brought before the United States government for executive, judicial, and legislative action? Who presided over the unicameral congresses? Who presided over United States judicial matters such as state boundary disputes?  Who officially received and entertained foreign diplomats for the United States? Who received all the official mail to the United States of America?  Who signed and transmitted the federal orders to Commander-in-Chief George Washington during the Revolutionary War?   Who headed the unicameral governments of the United Colonies and States of America?  Who was the “Head of State” for the United States of America?   

Copyright © 2008 Stan Klos and Forgotten Founders, Inc.

According to independent scholar and author, Stanley Yavneh Klos, the evolution of the United States of America actually occurred in four distinct stages. In the first three stages, fourteen men served as Presidents, and were considered the leaders of three distinct  unicameral republics that conducted a war against Great Britain. Klos identifies and labels the three founding republics in his book, America’s Four Republics: The More or Less United States writing:

From the inception of the United Colonies of America in 1774 to the Revolutionary War’s concluding Definitive Treaty of Peace in 1784, the 13 British Colonies and later States formed confederations that fulfilled Montesquieu’s requisite for a republic,  “degree of power as to be able to provide for the security of the united body. According, then, to the philosophe’s definition, a colonial republic began with the formation of an association titled, Continental Congress: United Colonies of America.

Alexander Hamilton, in the same Federalist letter of November 1787 in which he quotes Montesquieu, goes further by defining the United States of America as a confederacy, stating:

The definition of a confederate republic seems simply to be "an assemblage of societies," or an association of two or more states into one state. The extent, modifications, and objects of the federal authority are mere matters of discretion. So long as the separate organization of the members be not abolished; so long as it exists, by a constitutional necessity, for local purposes; though it should be in perfect subordination to the general authority of the union, it would still be, in fact and in theory, an association of states, or a confederacy. The proposed Constitution, so far from implying an abolition of the State governments, makes them constituent parts of the national sovereignty, by allowing them a direct representation in the Senate, and leaves in their possession certain exclusive and very important portions of sovereign power. This fully corresponds, in every rational import of the terms, with the idea of a federal government.

In Hamilton’s terms, then, a “confederacy” relies not just on a union of states under some form of federal authority, but likewise the retention by each of these states of their own governmental authorities, both subordinate to and “constituent parts of…national sovereignty.”

Finally, for our consideration, in 1788, United States in Congress Assembled Delegate James Madison in Federalist No XXXIX defined the word “republic,” placing clear emphasis on the derivation of its power from the people:

… we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic. It is sufficient for such a government that the persons administering it be appointed, either directly or indirectly, by the people; and that they hold their appointments by either of the tenures just specified …[i]

Reflecting upon these definitions by Montesquieu, Hamilton and Madison; this book puts forth the proposition that there were three distinct republics that led to a fourth which is the current government of the United States.  Each Republic is so delineated because it marks a divergent stage in the evolution of the United States; the names designated to each period are derived from the republic’s founding resolution or constitution, as follows:

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of America: Thirteen British Colonies United in Congress [ii] (September 4th, 1774 to July 1st, 1776) was founded by 12 colonies[iii] under the First Continental Congress and expired under the Second Continental Congress; [iv]  
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America:[v] Thirteen Independent States United in Congress[vi] (July 2nd, 1776 to February 28th, 1781) was founded by 12 states[vii] in the Second Continental Congress and expired with the ratification of the Articles of Confederation;  
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Not Quite Perpetual Union [viii] (March 1st, 1781 to March 3rd, 1789) was founded by 13 States[ix] with the Articles of Confederation’s enactment and expired with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution of 1787;
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People[x] (March 4, 1789 to Present) was formed by 11 states[xi]  with the United States Constitution of 1787’s enactment and still exists today.
Copyright © 2008 Stan Klos and Forgotten Founders, Inc.

Klos continues:
With the four founding republics now identified, the following nomenclature, derived from the acts of three unicameral and one tripartite governing bodies, is offered for consideration:

  • The First United American Republic Government: The United Colonies of America Continental Congress (U.C. Continental Congress),[xii] with the name “Continental Congress” being adopted in the Articles of Association[xiii]  and “United Colonies of America” being derived from various relations enacted by the aforementioned U.C. Continental Congress;
  • The Second United American Republic Government: The United States of America Continental Congress (U.S. Continental Congress),[xiv] with the name “Colonies” being changed to “States” by the Declaration of Independence;[xv]   
  • The Third United American Republic Government: The United States in Congress Assembled (USCA or Confederation Congress), with the name being adopted in the Articles of Confederation;[xvi]  
  • The Fourth United American Republic Government: The United States House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled (Bicameral Congress), The President of the United States of America (U.S. President), United States Supreme Court (U.S. Supreme Court), with the names all adopted in the Constitution of 1787.[xvii] For the purpose of this book the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled is abbreviated to the U.S. Bicameral Congress.   

At Forgotten Founders, we agree that each stage marks a clear, but different origin date for four distinctly different United American Republics, who beginning with Peyton Randolph, had elected officials that acted in the capacity of as the “Head of State” for the United Colonies and/or States of America from 1774 to 1788 in their respective unicameral governments.   Who were these Presidents of the Continental Congress and, later, the Presidents of the United States under the nation’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation?  What were their duties?  How did they cope with a war, hyper-inflation, the complete collapse of the U.S. Dollar, massive federal debt, religious tolerance, treaties, imprisonment, court-martials, state disputes, taxes, and a flawed constitution? In the end, the framers ultimately chose to discard the Articles of Confederation reformulating the “Perpetual Union of the United States” under a new constitution. 

The illumination of the historical record’s account of these 14 Presidents who had duties quite different from those performed by the Constitution of 1787’s President is a cornerstone of the Forgotten Founders organizational mission.  They were Heads of State and, in the case of ten men, Presidents of the United States under the Articles of Confederation.  

These presidential stories are peppered with surprising antidotes ranging from President Henry Middleton surrendering to the British in 1780 to Scotland born President Arthur St. Clair supporting a new constitution that outlawed any foreign born U.S. citizen Presidencies.  Additionally, the examination of the first three United American Republics provide keen insights into the shaping of the Constitution of 1787 and the U.S. Presidency. Moreover, the lessons learned from the tumultuous U.S. Founding; when the nascent confederation repeatedly drew itself back from the brink of economic, political, or military disaster, shed light,   are most apropos in formulating solutions to the challenges the United States faces today. 

Copyright © 2008 Stan Klos and Forgotten Founders, Inc.

Forgotten Presidential Facts

  • Each Colony/State elected or appointed a delegation to the Continental Congress or constitutional government known as “The United States, in Congress Assembled;”  
  • Regardless of population or delegation size, each state had only one vote in both the Continental Congress and the United States, in Congress Assembled.  Presidents were elected by a simple majority of the states in attendance once a quorum was formed;
  • The confederation Presidents utilized their unicameral office to exercise much influence on United States public affairs and legislation.  For example, The President, in conjunction with his state’s delegation, had one vote of thirteen in the unicameral government. Quite often, his “yes” or “no” represented 1/9th and sometimes 1/7th of all the votes required in quorums necessary to enact legislation under the Articles of Confederation; 
  • Each President presided, in a voting “Speaker of the House Capacity,” over the judicial, legislative and executive confederation business; Presidents also had the power to call for the confederation government’s assembly and adjournment; 
  • Presidents received, read, answered, and at their own discretion held or disseminated the official state and foreign correspondence; Presidents chaired the Committee of the States that governed the confederation when the congress was not in session; Presidents received visiting dignitaries at the Capitol as the Head of State extending the nation’s official hospitality; Presidents acted as judicial officers presiding over numerous cases including Federal Court Appeals,  Death Penalty Appeals, Military trials and State boundary disputes; Presidents, although not serving as Commander-in-Chief, issued military orders and signed military commissions. They also executed diplomatic commissions, treaties, proclamations, resolutions, ordinances and loans; 
  • The government of the United States did provide for the President’s expenses, servants, clerks, housing, and transportation. Their home state provided for their salary only as a voting delegate.

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US Founding Half Dollar Coin Act

Richard Henry Lee's Stratford Hall
On the Half-Dollar Coin Act
Thomas Jefferson's Monticello
on the  
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College of William and Mary
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U.S. Mint
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Gubernatorial Proclamation Declaring Samuel Huntington
 the First President of the United States in Congress Assembled

[i] James Madison, “Federalist XXXIX: Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles.” Independent Journal, New York: January 16, 1788.
[ii] The name, the United Colonies of America, was not introduced as part of a Continental Congress UCA resolution until Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration Setting Forth the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking up Arms.  Although passed as the United Colonies of North America on July 21, 1775 the word “North” would be dropped by 1776.
[iii] Georgia sent no delegates.
[iv] The name” Continental Congress” was formally adopted by Congress in the Articles of Association dated October 20, 1774.
[v] The name, United States of America was formally adopted by Congress in the Declaration of Independence dated July 4, 1776.
[vi] The term “Free and Independent States” was formally adopted by Congress in Richard Henry Lee’s Resolution for Independence on July 2, 1776. 
[vii] New York did not approved independence from Great Britain until July 9, 1776.
[viii] The term “The Perpetual Unionwas formally adopted by Congress in the Articles of Confederation on November 15, 1777 and ratified by all 13 States on March 1, 1781.
[ix] Although formulated by Congress on November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation required unanimous ratification by all 13 states before they could be enacted. By February 1st, 1779 12 states had ratified the Constitution of 1777.  Maryland delayed its adoption by over two years, ratifying onFebruary 2, 1781.
[x] The term “We the Peoplewas formally adopted by the Philadelphia Convention on September 17, 1787 in the preamble to the current U.S. Constitution and ratified by the eleven States forming the new republic by the summer of 1788.
[xi] The States of North Carolina (11/21/1789) and Rhode Island (5/29/1790) did not ratify the Constitution of 1787 until after the government was formed in New York on March 4, 1789.
[xii] The U.S. Continental Congress is also known as the Second Continental Congress.
[xiii] “Articles of Association.” .Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789, ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. (Washington, D.C., 1904-37), 19:137, October 20, 1774.  Future references will be to JCC, 1774-1789. 
[xiv] The U.C. Continental Congress is also known as the First and Second Continental Congress.
[xv] Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.  JCC, 1774-1789.
[xvi] Articles of Confederation, March 1, 1781.  JCC, 1774-1789.
[xvii] Constitution of the United States, Charters of Freedom, National Archives,

Capitals of the United Colonies and States of America

Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
September 27, 1777
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
October 6, 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
Dec. 6,1790 to May 14, 1800       
Washington DC
November 17,1800 to Present

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The United Colonies of North America Continental Congress Presidents (1774-1776)
The United States of America Continental Congress Presidents (1776-1781)
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The United States of America Presidents and Commanders-in-Chiefs (1789-Present)

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