|Date of Birth:||February 22, 1732|
|Death||December 14, 1799 (67 years old)|
|Presidential Term||April 30, 1789 - March 4, 1797|
George Washington was born to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington in 1732 in Westmoreland (Stafford County), Virginia. At the age of 11, Washington lost his father. His half-brother Lawrence became a father figure, guiding him and helping him secure a job. At the age of 17, George Washington took a job as an official land surveyor for Culpeper County. After Lawrence's death in 1752, Washington was given his position as Adjutant General of Virginia, and he became a major in the state's militia. He also joined the Freemasons in Fredericksburg.
During his military career, George Washington fought in the Seven Years' War and earned the title "Colonel of the Virginia Regiment and Commander-in-Chief of all the forces now raised in the defense of His Majesty's Colony" in 1755. He was put in charge of defending Virginia, where he served until he retired from the position in 1758.
George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow, on January 6, 1759, boosting his status to make him one of the wealthiest men in Virginia. Together, they raised her two children from a previous marriage, but they never had children together.
Role in the American Revolution
As a commander of the Continental Army, George Washington played a critical role in the Revolutionary War. He became politically active in around 1769, when tensions began to build between Britain and its American colonies.
He opposed the Acts of British Parliament, oversaw the Siege of Boston to success, and later commanded the Continental Army against the Redcoats. In 1780, took part in the Siege of Yorktown, resisting the powerful British attack. Washington led the convention that drafted the Constitution, and was subsequently elected president of the Convention in 1787. He was elected the first president of the United States in 1789.
Compared to other Founding Fathers, such as Patrick Henry and Benjamin Franklin, George Washington was known not for his political acumen but for his quick and decisive action on the battlefield. Although the colonial forces were no match for the British, they were still able to thwart the attacks because of Washington's sound and defensive strategy.
Washington had opposed the British on earlier occasions, openly protesting the Townshend Acts and organizing a revolt until the act was repealed in 1770. He was also part of the First Continental Congress to represent Virginia, which was a large colony at that time. When the Battles of Lexington and Concord were fought in 1775, the Second Continental Congress met to raise an army. George Washington was the natural choice for the commander of the Continental Army.
After a tough campaign at Boston, the Continental Army emerged victorious. But Washington could not repeat his success in the battle for New York City. New Jersey, however, turned out to be a success and put Washington in a position of great esteem within the colonies. After the colonies achieved independence, George Washington was selected as the president of the Constitutional Convention, playing primarily a supportive and diplomatic role.
George Washington was the first president to establish the principle of civilian supremacy in military affairs.He developed the idea of having civilian-elected officials in command of the military.
Presidency of George Washington (April 30, 1789 - March 4, 1797)
George Washington became the first president of the United States in 1789, the only president ever to win unanimously. John Adams was chosen as his vice-president. Washington was elected to a second term in 1792. He ran his presidency so as to set a precedent for later generations. He refused to adhere to the law of inheritance that was practised by the royal families. Therefore, he chose not to run for a third term.
Washington kept the new nation neutral during the European war between Britain and France. He proved himself to be a diplomatic and unifying leader, well-liked by the general population as well as other Founding Fathers of the U.S. He set many standards for the United States and its future presidents during his tenure.
Upon leaving office, Washington wrote a Farewell Address, which offered advice and wisdom for the future of the nation, expressing the importance of the union, morality, and warned against internal and external conflict. The address is regarded as an important document in the history of the U.S. government.
Post-Presidency of George Washington
George Washington retired from the presidency in 1797, returning to his home in Mount Vernon. However, his retirement was short-lived. Despite the completion of his leadership roles, he was requested to return to the role of a commander role and begin planning in case of potential conflicts with France.
Washington fell ill on December 12, 1799, and despite medical treatments, he died on December 14 at the age of 67. He was buried at Mount Vernon on December 18, and a memorial tomb was later built to house his remains in the 1830s.
Facts about George Washington
- Washington was the only US president to be inaugurated in different cities. While his first inauguration took place in New York City in 1789, his second inauguration happened in Philadelphia in 1793.
- Washington was the first US president to give his nod to the law protecting the copyright in the country. In 1790, he signed the Copyright Act of 1790 into law.
- At the time of his death in 1799, George Washington owned some 300 slaves.
- At the age of 21, Washington had led British colonial forces against the French in Ohio.
- He is the only US president to go into battle while still holding his office.
- Washington was one of the most successful liquor distributors. He had built a state-of-the-art distillery at Mt. Vernon, where he made rye whiskey, apple brandy and peach brandy.
- The George Washington Bridge in New York is not the only place named after the first president of the U.S. Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, was also named in his honor.
- Not many would know that the conflict between the president and the Congress dates back to Washington's time. The Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, feared that a strong presidency might lead to dictatorship and he insisted that the Congress should be the primary authority. In fact, he organized a political party to oppose Washington and his followers. The conflict between the two grew so intense that they turned sworn enemies.
Last Updated on: September 29th, 2017