The First American

Sep 2018
40
Edmond, Ok USA
#1
So, I stumbled upon this quote about Benjamin Franklin on wikipedia:

"Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity, initially as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies. As the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation."

Which got me thinking. If we create a "The United States First American" list of humans who have been citizens of the United States, who would be on that list. The criteria is this. There can only be one First American. Once a man is nominated as a "First American", he is the banner of that title. He retains that title until his/her death. Once they die, the next person becomes the "First American".
So, Benjamin Franklin died in 1790 at the ripe old age of 84. Who would be his replacement?

That question, to me, is quite easy. George Washington. The banner title doesn't change. He isn't the Second American, he is just the "First American". However, he only retains that title for nine years until his death in 1799. At that moment, does anyone have an opinion as to who should be the next 'First American'? Again, the only criteria is that the person must have been alive while George Washington was alive. Cannot be born next year. Who should retain the title next? John Adams? Thomas Jefferson? Someone else? If between Adams and Jefferson, should Jefferson be next followed by Adams (who dies four hours later)?

Any thoughts?
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,139
Portugal
#2
Not in the line of your reasoning, but I think that the first American arrived or was born in America some 10000 years ago after a migration from Siberia. So any “first” after that is a fake “first”.
 
Sep 2018
40
Edmond, Ok USA
#3
Not in the line of your reasoning, but I think that the first American arrived or was born in America some 10000 years ago after a migration from Siberia. So any “first” after that is a fake “first”.
Wow! Thanks for your input. Never realized that. :rolleyes:

FFS

Somehow I just knew a response like that was going to come about. But oh well...
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,139
Portugal
#6
You do realize that the people that were on the North American continent before the 15th Century never called themselves Americans. They referred to themselves to whatever tribe they were raised in.
Yes, I do.

That is not exactly a surprise!

Amerigo Vespucci, the man that gave the name to the American continent lived in the second half of the 15th century and in the 16th. So, naturally, any previous inhabitant of America would call himself by other designation. And most of them never even met the navigator and spy Amerigo Vespucci or the cartographer Waldseemüller.

Anyway that happens with many other peoples that were named by their “discoverers”, or better the name that passed to the historiography was the one given by their “discoverers” from Europe/Mediterranean area.

But my point, apart question you from the “FFS” meaning, that upon further research seemed to me quite rude, was that Americans are the ones that inhabit the American continent and not primary the US citizens, as it is (too) often used for short. On other words, and since this is an international forum, even if of English language, but even so international, was to (re)open, remembering, the significance of the “American” word.

If you had envisioned this perspective, as you stated in your post #3, than it was because you were already aware of that. On a similar way that happens a lot today with the confusion between Europe and EU, or in the past between Spain as a geographic entity, meaning all the Iberian Peninsula, and all its different peoples and kingdoms.

Anyway, it is interesting to see a thread about the first “Americans” restricted only to the United States of America.

I confess that probably I just posted because recently I saw a post stating that Columbus didn’t reached America. So, my apologies. Please carry on...
 
Sep 2018
40
Edmond, Ok USA
#7
was that Americans are the ones that inhabit the American continent and not primary the US citizens, as it is (too) often used for short. On other words, and since this is an international forum, even if of English language, but even so international, was to (re)open, remembering, the significance of the “American” word.
No one is going to asked a Mexican or a Canadian, "Are you an American?" And if they do, they are asking them are they a citizen of the United States of American.

But, thanks for deviating my thread and not contributing to the question at hand, which is the founding of this thread. I have been a member of this forum since around 2006-07 and had to create a new identify due to the new transition of the forum. It has been some time since I posted on here. Your response is a fine example of why I stopped coming back here to post silly and irrelevant, but sometimes entertaining questions.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,251
Spain
#8
No one is going to asked a Mexican or a Canadian, "Are you an American?" And if they do, they are asking them are they a citizen of the United States of American.

But, thanks for deviating my thread and not contributing to the question at hand, which is the founding of this thread. I have been a member of this forum since around 2006-07 and had to create a new identify due to the new transition of the forum. It has been some time since I posted on here. Your response is a fine example of why I stopped coming back here to post silly and irrelevant, but sometimes entertaining questions.
No. The word America doesn´t belong to USA alone... it is a Continent and it was used in German maps... centuries before nobody would have heard a word about USA... because not even existed.
As easy as to see an original 16th Century map to see how the word America was not linked not even to North America!

America was written on what today is ARGENTINA... or Viceroy of El Plata... not on New Hampshire... So... Who said here "Yankees" are more "Americans" than Mexicans or Bolivians....



What happened was that European prefered to name West Indies... and the rebels called their political organization "USA" but Word AMERICA nor was invented by any Yankee and didn´t make reference to any special place and of course, no way to North America.... at all.

History is what is.. not what we liked what we would have liked it to be ... High Peru.. Tierra del Fuego or Amazonia are not less AMERICA than New York or New Hampshire.

By the way I call Mexican, Canadian etc as American.. and people from USA as Yankees or North Americans.. but never americans.. because History proves... the word is not matched to New York or Vermont.. so.I think it is more correct to call Yankees or North Americans.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,659
Dispargum
#9
So anyway, back to the OP....
It seems so obvious that the first (or greatest?) American at any time after Washington would be a president. Could anyone who wasn't a president ever be the first or greatest living American? Searching for a time when the first or greatest living American could not be a president led me to the window Jan 1973 to Aug 1974 when there were no living ex-presidents. Let's assume that Nixon would never be the first or greatest living American. Who else is there? John Wayne? I once heard it claimed that he won every war America ever fought. Perhaps his off-screen personna was enough to qualify him for the title? Who else, who was never a president might qualify?
 
Likes: Congo
Sep 2018
40
Edmond, Ok USA
#10
So anyway, back to the OP....
It seems so obvious that the first (or greatest?) American at any time after Washington would be a president. Could anyone who wasn't a president ever be the first or greatest living American? Searching for a time when the first or greatest living American could not be a president led me to the window Jan 1973 to Aug 1974 when there were no living ex-presidents. Let's assume that Nixon would never be the first or greatest living American. Who else is there? John Wayne? I once heard it claimed that he won every war America ever fought. Perhaps his off-screen personna was enough to qualify him for the title? Who else, who was never a president might qualify?
Oh, I agree. George Washington should be the first "First American". But if Benjamin Franklin received the title and upon his death we have George Washington be the second First American, who would be the next person from the United States to be given such a title that fit BF and GW