Arthur St. Clair (b. 1734 – d. 1818) Born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland, during the tumultuous days of the final Jacobite Rising and the Tartan Supression, St. Clair was the only President of the Colonies born and bred on foreign soil. Though most of his friends and family abandoned their devastated homeland in the years following the Battle of Culloden, after which nearly a third of the land was depopulated through emigration to America, he stayed behind to learn the ways of the hated Hanoverian English in the Royal Navy.
His plan was to learn the enemy’s military might in order to fight another day. During the global conflict of the 7 Years War, generally known as the French and Indian War, he was stationed in the American theater. Afterwards, he decided to settle in Pennsylvania where many of his kin had established themselves.
His civic-mindness quickly became apparent: he helped to organize both the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania militias, led the Continental Army‘s Canadian expedition, and was elected to Congress. His long training in the enemy camp was finally paying off.
He was elected President In 1787, and he served from February 2 of that year until January 21st of the next. Following his term of duty in the highest office in the land, he became the first Governor of the Northwest Territory and the Founder of Cincinnati.
Though he had briefly supported the idea of creating a constitutional monarchy under the Stuart‘s Bonnie Prince Charlie, he was a strident Anti-federalist, believing that the proposed federal constitution would eventually allow for the intrusion of government into virtually every sphere and aspect of life.
He even predicted that under the vastly expanded, centralized power of State the taxing powers of bureaucrats and other unelected officials would confiscate as much as a quarter of the income of the citizens, a notion that seemed laughable at the time, but one that has proven to be ominously modest in light of our current governmental leviathan.
St. Clair lived to see the hated English tyrants who destroyed his homeland, become destroyed themselves. But he despaired that his adopted home might actually create similar tyrannies and impose them upon themselves, and he was right, i.e. Lincoln, LBJ, Obama, to name a few.