Lastly Cyrus Griffin[i] a Virginian born in 1749 was tenth and final President of the United States “In Congress Assembled” a time serving placemen held his office from June 22, 1788 to March 4 1789. His office fell on the approval of the United States Constitution. He retired to be a judge for the district of Virginia from 1789 until his death in 1810. Little else is remembered about him.
So from this quick rush through the lives of the Presidents ICA we can see that these are not intermarried to each other in the way we see the early post constitutional presidents and indeed their origins are wider and more varied then we see again. Indeed after St Clair no other president was found to have been born on foreign soil. St Clair’s example was not much to encourage them to look there in the future . The question of whether Chester Arthur was born in Canada or not is discussed later.
Indeed they show considerable variation. We see one the grandson of French immigrants, and others who were of a diverse background. One just walked in as an immigrant and rose to President. Far from being a small closed interrelated elite they show greater breadth and spread of origin then we shall ever see again.
These Presidents of the First Republic were important men. If the standard explanation is right we should expect to find continuation of their families in the Senate or the House. Reference should appear in articles on these Presidents or generally on Political families. For most we find nothing. They vanish from the scene and are expunged from the collective memory of their country and their historians[ii]. Whatever happens after their time has effectively wiped the slate. A new dispensation prevails. Politically it has become a tabula rasa: a world scoured clean.
So what happened?
[ii] In Stanley Weintraub’s Iron tears: Rebellion in America 1775-1783 Simon & Shuster London, this Pennsylvania State University professor lists only Hancock in his index and there more as a signer of the Declaration that as a President ICA.
Copyright David Macadam 2010