Peyton Randolph

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Peyton Randolph was the first President of the Continental Congress, and thus the leader of what was to become the United States, from September 5 to October 21, 1774, and then again for a few days in 1775 from May 10 to May 23 -- fifteen years before George Washington took office. He was succeeded in office by Henry Middleton.

He did not live to see independence for the nation he led.