Heritage Documentation Programs
Heritage Documentation Programs is a division of the U. S. National Park Service responsible for administering the Historic American Buildings Survey, Historic American Engineering Record, Historic American Landscapes Survey; these programs were established to document historic places in the United States. Records consist of measured drawings, archival photographs, written reports, are archived in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. In 1933, NPS established the Historic American Buildings Survey following a proposal by Charles E. Peterson, a young landscape architect in the agency, it was founded as a constructive make-work program for architects and photographers left jobless by the Great Depression. Guided by field instructions from Washington, D. C. the first HABS recorders were tasked with documenting a representative sampling of America's architectural heritage. By creating an archive of historic architecture, HABS provided a database of primary source material and documentation for the then-fledgling historic preservation movement.
Earlier private projects included the White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs, many contributors to which joined the HABS program. Notable HABS photographers include Jack Boucher; the Historic American Engineering Record program was founded on January 10, 1969, by NPS and the American Society of Civil Engineers. HAER documents historic mechanical and engineering artifacts. Since the advent of HAER, the combined program is called "HABS/HAER". Today much of the work of HABS/HAER is done by student teams during the summer, or as part of college-credit classwork. Eric DeLony headed HAER from 1971 to 2003. In October 2000, NPS and the American Society of Landscape Architects established a sister program, the Historic American Landscapes Survey, to systematically document historic American landscapes. A predecessor, the Historic American Landscape and Garden Project, recorded historic Massachusetts gardens between 1935 and 1940; that project was funded by the Works Progress Administration, but was administered by HABS, which supervised the collection of records.
The permanent collection of HABS/HAER/HALS are housed at the Library of Congress, established in 1790 as the replacement reference library of the United States Congress. It has since been expanded to serve as the National Library of the United States. S. publishers are required to deposit a copy of every copyrighted and published work, book monograph and magazine. As a branch of the United States Government, its created works are in the public domain in the US. Many images and documents are available through the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, including proposed and existing structures. Jack Boucher, former HABS/HAER photographer Jet Lowe, former HAER photographer National Register of Historic Places Notes Further reading "HAER: 30 Years of Recording Our Technological Heritage". IA, The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology. 25. 1999. JSTOR i40043493. "Documenting Complexity: The Historic American Engineering Record and America's Technological History". IA, The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology.
23. 1997. JSTOR i4004348. Lindley, John; the Georgia Collection: Historic American Buildings Survey. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 0-8203-0613-4. Witcher, T. R.. "Fifty Years of Preservation: The Historic American Engineering Record". Civil Engineering. National Park Service−NPS: official Heritage Documentation Programs website
Second Continental Congress
The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the spring of 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia between September 5, 1774, October 26, 1774; the Second Congress moved incrementally towards independence. It adopted the Lee Resolution which established the new country on July 2, 1776, it agreed to the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776; the Congress acted as the de facto national government of the United States by raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, making formal treaties such as the Olive Branch Petition. The Second Continental Congress came together on May 11, 1775 reconvening the First Continental Congress. Many of the 56 delegates who attended the first meeting were in attendance at the second, the delegates appointed the same president and secretary. Notable new arrivals included John Hancock of Massachusetts.
Within two weeks, Randolph was summoned back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses. Henry Middleton was elected as president to replace Randolph. Hancock was elected president on May 24. Delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies were present when the Second Continental Congress convened. Georgia had not participated in the First Continental Congress and did not send delegates to the Second. On May 13, 1775, Lyman Hall was admitted as a delegate from the Parish of St. John's in the Colony of Georgia, not as a delegate from the colony itself. On July 4, 1775, revolutionary Georgians held a Provincial Congress to decide how to respond to the American Revolution, that congress decided on July 8 to send delegates to the Continental Congress, they arrived on September 13. The First Continental Congress had sent entreaties to King George III to stop the Coercive Acts; the Second Continental Congress met on May 10, 1775 to plan further responses if the British government had not repealed or modified the acts.
For the first few months of the war, the Patriots carried on their struggle in an ad-hoc and uncoordinated manner. They had seized arsenals, driven out royal officials, besieged the British army in the city of Boston. On June 14, 1775, the Congress voted to create the Continental Army out of the militia units around Boston and appointed George Washington of Virginia as commanding general. On July 6, 1775, Congress approved a Declaration of Causes outlining the rationale and necessity for taking up arms in the Thirteen Colonies. On July 8, they extended the Olive Branch Petition to the British Crown as a final attempt at reconciliation. Silas Deane was sent to France as a minister of the Congress, American ports were reopened in defiance of the British Navigation Acts; the Continental Congress had no explicit legal authority to govern, but it assumed all the functions of a national government, such as appointing ambassadors, signing treaties, raising armies, appointing generals, obtaining loans from Europe, issuing paper money, disbursing funds.
The Congress had no authority to levy taxes and was required to request money and troops from the states to support the war effort. Individual states ignored these requests. Congress was moving towards declaring independence from the British Empire in 1776, but many delegates lacked the authority from their home governments to take such a drastic action. Advocates of independence moved to have reluctant colonial governments revise instructions to their delegations, or replace those governments which would not authorize independence. On May 10, 1776, Congress passed a resolution recommending that any colony with a government, not inclined toward independence should form one that was. On May 15, they adopted a more radical preamble to this resolution, drafted by John Adams, which advised throwing off oaths of allegiance and suppressing the authority of the Crown in any colonial government that still derived its authority from the Crown; that same day, the Virginia Convention instructed its delegation in Philadelphia to propose a resolution that called for a declaration of independence, the formation of foreign alliances, a confederation of the states.
The resolution of independence was delayed for several weeks, as advocates of independence consolidated support in their home governments. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee offered a resolution before the Congress declaring the colonies independent, he urged Congress to resolve "to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances" and to prepare a plan of confederation for the newly independent states. Lee argued that independence was the only way to ensure a foreign alliance, since no European monarchs would deal with America if they remained Britain's colonies. American leaders had rejected the divine right of kings in the New World, but recognized the necessity of proving their credibility in the Old World. Congress formally adopted the resolution of independence, but only after creating three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, the Articles of Confederation; the Declaration announced the states' entry into the international
Paul Mellon was an American philanthropist and an owner/breeder of thoroughbred racehorses. He is one of only five people designated an "Exemplar of Racing" by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, he was co-heir to one of America's greatest business fortunes, derived from the Mellon Bank created by his grandfather Thomas Mellon, his father Andrew W. Mellon, his father's brother Richard B. Mellon. In 1957, when Fortune prepared its first list of the wealthiest Americans, it estimated that Paul Mellon, his sister Ailsa Mellon-Bruce, his cousins Sarah Mellon and Richard King Mellon, were all among the richest eight people in the United States, with fortunes of between 400 and 700 million dollars each. Mellon's autobiography, Reflections in a Silver Spoon, was published in 1992, he died at his home, Oak Spring, in Upperville, Virginia, on February 1, 1999. He was survived by his wife, his children, Catherine Conover and Timothy Mellon, two stepchildren, Stacy Lloyd III and Eliza, Viscountess Moore.
Paul Mellon was the son of Andrew W. Mellon, US Secretary of the Treasury from 1921 to 1932, Nora McMullen of Hertfordshire and brother of Ailsa Mellon-Bruce, he graduated from The Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut, in 1925, where he wrote for the literary magazine and composed the school hymn. He went on to graduate from Yale College and the University of Cambridge. At Yale, he was a member of Chi Psi Fraternity and Key and served as vice-chairman of the Yale Daily News, he was a great benefactor of his alma maters, donating to the Forbes-Mellon Library at the University of Cambridge, the Mellon Arts Center and the Mellon Science Center to Choate, two residential colleges, the Yale Center for British Art. After graduating from Yale, he went to England to study at the University of Cambridge, receiving a BA in 1931, while his father served as the US Ambassador to the Court of St. James's from 1932 to 1933. In 1930, he was a founding member, alongside Sir Timothy William Gowers, of the CRABS, the Clare Rugby And Boating Society.
In 1938, he received an Oxbridge MA from Cambridge. He was a major benefactor to Clare College's Forbes-Mellon Library, opened in 1986. Mellon returned to Pittsburgh, to work for other businesses for six months. In 1935, he married Mary Conover Brown and the couple, who had two children and Timothy, moved to Virginia, he enrolled at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland in 1940 but six months joined the United States Army, asking to join the cavalry. Mellon served with the Morale Operations Branch of the Office of Strategic Services in Europe, he rose to the rank of major and was the recipient of four battle stars in the European Theatre of Operations. After his wife Mary's death in 1946 from an asthma attack, he married Rachel Lambert Lloyd, known as "Bunny", the former wife of Stacy Barcroft Lloyd Jr, she was a descendant of the Lambert family who formulated and marketed Listerine and an heiress to the Warner-Lambert corporate fortune. Bunny Mellon was an avid horticulturist and gardener, whose fondness for French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, as well as American art, Mellon came to share.
By this marriage, he had two stepchildren: Eliza Lambert Lloyd. While Mellon did not share his father's interest in business, the two found common ground in their love of art and philanthropy. Shortly before Andrew Mellon's death in 1937, construction began on the West Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C. for which Andrew Mellon had provided funds. Four years Paul Mellon presented both the building by John Russell Pope and his father's collection of 115 paintings to the nation, he served on the museum's board for more than four decades: as trustee, as president, as board chair, as honorary trustee. Mellon commissioned I. M. Pei to build the East Building and, with his sister Ailsa, provided funds for its construction in the late 1970s. Over the years he and his wife Bunny donated more than 1,000 works to the National Gallery of Art, among them many French and American masterworks. In 1936, Mellon purchased his first British painting, "Pumpkin with a Stable-lad" by George Stubbs, who became a lifetime favorite of Mellon's.
Beginning in the late 1950s, with the help of English art historian Basil Taylor, Mellon amassed a major collection by the mid-1960s. London art dealer Geoffrey Agnew once said of his acquisitions: "It took an American collector to make the English look again at their own paintings." Mellon granted his extensive collection of British art, rare books, related materials to Yale University in the 1960s, along with the funding to create an appropriate museum to house it. He characteristically insisted that it not be named in honor of him, but rather would be called the Yale Center for British Art, to encourage others to support it as well. Mellon provided extensive endowment support to fund not only operations but an ongoing program of acquisitions, he made a generous bequest to the Center at the time of his death; the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art was founded in 1970 through a generous grant to Yale University, as a London-based affiliate of the New Haven center, to encourage study of British art and culture both at the undergraduate and the research scholar levels.
Mellon provided important leadership gifts to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, V
Martha Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first President of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington served as the inaugural First Lady of the United States. During her lifetime she was referred to as "Lady Washington", she had first married Daniel Parke Custis, with whom she had four children, was widowed by the age of 25. Two of her children by Custis survived to young adulthood, she brought her vast wealth to her marriage to Washington, which enabled him to buy land to add to his personal estate. She brought nearly 100 dower slaves for her use during her lifetime, they and their descendants reverted to her first husband's estate at her death and were inherited by his heirs. She and Washington did not have children together but they did rear her two children by Daniel Parke Custis, including son John "Jacky" Parke Custis, they helped both of their extended families. Martha Dandridge was born on June 2, 1731 on her parents' plantation Chestnut Grove in the British colony, Province of Virginia.
She was the oldest daughter of John Dandridge, a Virginia planter and immigrant from England, by his wife Frances Jones, of American birth and English and French descent. Martha had three brothers and four sisters: John, Bartholomew, Anna Maria "Fanny" Bassett, Frances Dandridge, Elizabeth Aylett Henley and Mary Dandridge. Martha may have had an illegitimate half-sister, Ann Dandridge Costin, born into slavery. Costin's enslaved mother was of African and Cherokee descent, her father was believed to be John Dandridge. Martha's father may have fathered an out-of-wedlock half-brother to Martha named Ralph Dandridge, white. On May 15, 1750, at age 18, Martha married Daniel Parke Custis, a rich planter two decades her senior, moved to his residence, White House Plantation, located on the south shore of the Pamunkey River, a few miles upriver from Chestnut Grove, they had four children together: Daniel, Frances and Martha. Daniel and Frances died in childhood; the other two children, John Parke Custis and Martha Parke Custis, survived to young adulthood.
Her husband's death in 1757 left Martha a rich young widow at age 25, with independent control over a dower inheritance for her lifetime, trustee control over the inheritance of her minor children. In all, she was left in custody of some 17,500 acres of land and 300 slaves, apart from other investments and cash. According to her biographer, "she capably ran the five plantations left to her when her first husband died, bargaining with London merchants for the best tobacco prices." Martha Custis, age 27, George Washington, age 27, married on January 6, 1759, at the White House plantation. As a man who lived and owned property in the area, Washington knew both Martha and Daniel Parke Custis for some time before Daniel's death. During March 1758 he visited her twice at the White House. At the time, she was being courted by the planter Charles Carter, wealthier than Washington; the wedding was grand. Washington's suit was of silver cloth with red trimming and gold knee buckles; the bride wore purple silk shoes with spangled buckles.
The couple honeymooned at the White House for several weeks before setting up house at Washington's Mount Vernon estate. They appeared to have had a solid marriage. Martha and George Washington had no children together, but they raised Martha's two surviving children, her daughter, nicknamed Patsy, died as a teenager during an epileptic seizure. John Parke "Jacky" Custis returned from college to comfort his mother. Custis married and had children, he died of "camp fever". After his death, the Washingtons raised the youngest two of John's four children, Eleanor Parke Custis, George Washington Parke Custis; the two older girls remained with their mother. The Washingtons provided personal and financial support to nieces and other family members in both the Dandridge and Washington families. Content to live a private life at Mount Vernon and her homes from the Custis estate, Martha Washington followed Washington to his winter encampments for each of eight years, she helped keep up morale among the officers.
By tradition, Washington was described as spending her days at the Revolutionary War winter encampments visiting with the common soldiers in their huts. But Nancy Loane, author of Following the Drum: Women at the Valley Forge Encampment, says there is no evidence that Washington visited with the common soldiers, noting that Martha Washington was fashionably dressed, a woman of great wealth and independent means. Mrs. Washington joined her husband during the Revolution for all the Continental Army's winter encampments. Before the revolution began, she had kept close to home. General Lafayette observed that she loved "her husband madly"; the Continental Army settled in Valley Forge, the third of the eight winter encampments of the Revolution, on December 19, 1777. Martha W
National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a funded, nonprofit organization based in Washington, D. C. that works in the field of historic preservation in the United States. The member-supported organization was founded in 1949 by congressional charter to support the preservation of America’s diverse historic buildings and heritage through its programs and advocacy; the National Trust for Historic Preservation aims to empower local preservationists by providing leadership to save and revitalize America's historic places, by working on both national policies as well as local preservation campaigns through its network of field offices and preservation partners, including the National Park Service, State Historic Preservation Offices, local preservation groups. The National Trust is headquartered in Washington, D. C. with field offices in Boston, New York City, Nashville, Houston, Boise, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. The organization is governed by a board of trustees and led by current president, Stephanie K. Meeks.
The National Trust presently has around 750,000 supporters. In addition to leading campaigns and advocacy, the National Trust provides a growing educational resource through the Preservation Leadership Forum that offers articles, case studies, conferences and training; the National Trust issues the quarterly Preservation magazine and produces the "PreservationNation" blog. The National Trust’s current work focuses on building sustainable communities through the adaptive reuse of historic spaces. Towards the end of the 19th century, as the United States was rebuilding after the Civil War, the country was beginning to form its sense of national identity and history; the government began to enact legislation for the preservation of sites and objects deemed significant to the nation’s history. In 1872, an Act of Congress established Yellowstone. In 1906, the Antiquities Act enabled the President to declare landmarks or objects as a national monument. In 1935, Congress passed the Historic Sites Act which outlined programs for research and inventory of historic sites.
Meanwhile, historic preservation initiatives existed on local and state levels. In 1931, the first historic district was created in South Carolina. However, efforts to save and maintain historic sites were still limited to private citizens or local groups. In the late 1940s, leaders in American historic preservation saw the need for a national organization to support local preservation efforts. In 1946, David E. Finley, Jr. George McAneny, Christopher Crittenden, Ronald Lee met at the National Gallery of Art to discuss the formation of such a national organization; this meeting was followed by a larger gathering on April 15, 1947, attended by representatives from a number of art and historical societies, which culminated in the creation of the National Council for Historic Sites and Buildings. The meeting’s attendants became the first charter members of the Council; the organization’s first headquarters was in the offices of Ford’s Theatre in downtown Washington, D. C; the Council pursued the formation of a National Trust for Historic Preservation, somewhat modeled on the British National Trust, which would be tasked with the acquisition and maintenance of historic properties.
The creation of the National Trust was proposed as a bill to Congress, H. R. 5170, introduced by Congressman J. Hardin Peterson of Florida and passed; the National Trust for Historic Preservation was formally established through the Act of Congress when President Harry S. Truman signed the legislation on October 26, 1949; the charter provided that the Trust should acquire and preserve historic sites and objects of national significance and provide annual reports to Congress on its activities. Finley served as the National Trust's first chairman of the board, remaining in the position for 12 years; the National Trust and the National Council existed side by side for several years until the need to merge resources compelled the Executive Committee to integrate the two entities. In 1952, the boards of both organizations approved a merger of the Council into the National Trust; the merger was effective the following year and was completed by 1956. The National Trust became a membership organization and assumed all other functions of the National Council.
In its early years, the National Trust’s founders envisioned an organization whose primary purpose would be the acquisition and administration of historic sites, while encouraging public participation in their preservation. In 1957, the National Trust acquired its first property, Woodlawn Plantation in northern Virginia. Since, the National Trust portfolio of historic properties and contracted affiliates include twenty-seven historic sites, ranging from the 18th-century Drayton Hall in South Carolina to the Modernist Glass House in Connecticut. Over the next decade, the National Trust grew to become the leading national organization in historic preservation, they began working with citizens and city planning officials on legislative matters, including federal and municipal ordinances for historic preservation. National Trust staff traveled to parts of the country to advise local communities on preservation projects. In 1966, Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act, a significant legislation for the preservation movement.
The Act provided federal funding in support of the National Trust’s work. The fundi
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
President of the United States
The president of the United States is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. In contemporary times, the president is looked upon as one of the world's most powerful political figures as the leader of the only remaining global superpower; the role includes responsibility for the world's most expensive military, which has the second largest nuclear arsenal. The president leads the nation with the largest economy by nominal GDP; the president possesses international hard and soft power. Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, it vests the executive power of the United States in the president. The power includes the execution and enforcement of federal law, alongside the responsibility of appointing federal executive, diplomatic and judicial officers, concluding treaties with foreign powers with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The president is further empowered to grant federal pardons and reprieves, to convene and adjourn either or both houses of Congress under extraordinary circumstances. The president directs the foreign and domestic policies of the United States, takes an active role in promoting his policy priorities to members of Congress. In addition, as part of the system of checks and balances, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution gives the president the power to sign or veto federal legislation; the power of the presidency has grown since its formation, as has the power of the federal government as a whole. Through the Electoral College, registered voters indirectly elect the president and vice president to a four-year term; this is the only federal election in the United States, not decided by popular vote. Nine vice presidents became president by virtue of a president's intra-term resignation. Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 sets three qualifications for holding the presidency: natural-born U. S. citizenship.
The Twenty-second Amendment precludes any person from being elected president to a third term. In all, 44 individuals have served 45 presidencies spanning 57 full four-year terms. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, so he is counted twice, as both the 22nd and 24th president. Donald Trump of New York is the current president of the United States, he assumed office on January 20, 2017. In July 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, the Thirteen Colonies, acting jointly through the Second Continental Congress, declared themselves to be 13 independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. Recognizing the necessity of coordinating their efforts against the British, the Continental Congress began the process of drafting a constitution that would bind the states together. There were long debates on a number of issues, including representation and voting, the exact powers to be given the central government. Congress finished work on the Articles of Confederation to establish a perpetual union between the states in November 1777 and sent it to the states for ratification.
Under the Articles, which took effect on March 1, 1781, the Congress of the Confederation was a central political authority without any legislative power. It could make its own resolutions and regulations, but not any laws, could not impose any taxes or enforce local commercial regulations upon its citizens; this institutional design reflected how Americans believed the deposed British system of Crown and Parliament ought to have functioned with respect to the royal dominion: a superintending body for matters that concerned the entire empire. The states were out from under any monarchy and assigned some royal prerogatives to Congress; the members of Congress elected a President of the United States in Congress Assembled to preside over its deliberation as a neutral discussion moderator. Unrelated to and quite dissimilar from the office of President of the United States, it was a ceremonial position without much influence. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris secured independence for each of the former colonies.
With peace at hand, the states each turned toward their own internal affairs. By 1786, Americans found their continental borders besieged and weak and their respective economies in crises as neighboring states agitated trade rivalries with one another, they witnessed their hard currency pouring into foreign markets to pay for imports, their Mediterranean commerce preyed upon by North African pirates, their foreign-financed Revolutionary War debts unpaid and accruing interest. Civil and political unrest loomed. Following the successful resolution of commercial and fishing disputes between Virginia and Maryland at the Mount Vernon Conference in 1785, Virginia called for a trade conference between all the states, set for September 1786 in Annapolis, with an aim toward resolving further-reaching interstate commercial antagonisms; when the convention failed for lack of attendance due to suspicions among most of the other states, Alexander Hamilton led the Annapolis delegates in a call for a convention to offer revisions to the Articles, to be held the next spring in Philadelphia.
Prospects for the next convention appeared bleak until James Madison and Edmund Randolph succeeded in securing George Washington's attendance to Philadelphia as a delegate for Virginia. When the Constitutional Convention convened in May 1787, the 12 state delegations in attendance (Rh