Benjamin Franklin. The 1st US President


I want to create a new timeline where Benjamin Franklin was the first President.

When i started i noticed several problems with this scenario.

First: He is too damn old ;) Nearing 90 years when Washington was first elected.

Second: Even so he would only be a one-term president. And the war against the british had to end many years before the original period. I tried to study Cornwallis and reason why the british maybe would end the war earlier, but had no luck.

Could anyone give me some suggestions to a good point of divergence?
Last edited:
I think the best solution is an earlier union. Franklin was deeply involved in the Albany Congress, for example: it's not hard to see him as a sort of chairman (which could well be called "President") for an oversight body. The problem is getting the word "States" in there, as well as getting such a body to stick.
You could imagine a United States where the Presidency was imagined to be weak, and honorary, with the top job given to Franklin. More of an Articles of Confederation situation.


Franklin was an outstanding diplomat and a fair legislator, but somehow I don't see him being a particularly good executive. A good executive has to be able to tell people to go to hell.
The war does not have to end earlier, just the form of governement that the USA adopts has to be earlier. The big hurdle is for individuals to see that the exutive office with the constraints and checks is not replacing the tyrant in London with a tyrant that is closer. If the constitution is adopted before the Articles, it would have to go more in depth of what the powers are of each branch and the division of power between the states and federal government. Instead of having the Bill of rights as the first ten ammendments, these rights would have to be in Article 1. So a constitution might look like:

Article one - the rights reserved to the people not to be infringed upon
Article two - the rights of the states, the powers of the states
Article three - the legislative branch
Article four - executive branch, more detail
Article five - Judicial branch
Article six - ammendment process

Another big hurdle to union was to have the states cede their land claims.

What if the ARW happens in the same way, the states see the need for a federal governemnt and Franklin is made president in 1782 or 1783. The Treaty of Parris does not have to be signed, but Yorktown has to occur first. After Yorktown, the writing was on the wall for an indepenndent USA, the details needed to be ironed out.

Franklin - 1st POTUS, 1784-1787 --> like OTL Washington sees that his most important role is to set the proper precedents. Major accomplishment is enf of ARW.
Washington - 2nd POTUS, two termer --> much the same as OTL

Franklin and Washington are called fathers of the country. Franklin does not get bust carved out at Mt. Rushmore. Washington is still in prominant position.