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George Washington history

George Washington

George Washington is known as one of the most revered Presidents in United States history and is commonly referred to the Father of the United States. His achievements in implementing a workable government and leading the US to victory in its revolution have established him as a profoundly important historical figure.

The Making of an American Hero (Early life and what the 1700s were like)

At the time of George Washington's birth, the US was a colony of Britain and therefore, technically, Washington himself was a British subject. He was from a family of immigrants, his great-grandfather immigrated to Virginia many years before Washington's birth in 1731.

Although not as successful as some, his family enjoyed moderate wealth and could be considered to be part of the middle-class at the time.

Washington did not have a great deal of education, but as a young man he made a good living as an official surveyor. His first activity in the military came from his involvement in the French and Indian War, a territorial dispute involving different factions in the Ohio territory. His name became recognizable and well-regarded during this period.

After his military service, Washington became a relatively wealthy member of the agricultural class in Virginia. He also began to build his social and political clout within the colonies.

The Revolutionary War

War was declared on Britain by the colonies in 1775 and Washington was instantly appointed the general of the Continental Army and the Commander in Chief (Although not yet President, these terms would eventually be used to describe the President). The man had a bearing in his character that drew people. He was competent, confident, experienced and extremely enthusiastic about protecting the rights of his homeland.

The Revolutionary War lasted a long time and during the interim there were many problems. Harsh winters, treacherous generals, the overwhelming strength of the British Army and the difficulty of Congress all contributed to problems that Washington had to face. However, Washington still managed to succeed.

With victory secured, Washington, feeling that he had done his duty, resigned his command of the Continental Army. This was an entirely foreign concept to the rest of Europe. It seemed as if from the dawn of time, when a general took control of an area, they kept it for themselves. The whole idea of giving the land back to the people was beyond consideration, but that's exactly what George Washington did. He gave control of the colonies back to the Continental Congress.

The Formation of a "More Perfect Union"

The Preamble of the United States Constitution reads, "We the people, in order to form a more perfect union..." and that's exactly what the Continental Congress was trying to do. They knew there was something wrong with the arrangement that they had with Britain and they were determined to make a better system this time around.

However, the Continental Congress' first idea was not to write the constitution. Instead, they drafted the Articles of Confederation. Unfortunately, this form of government was so weak that they had to come up with something better. The problem with the Articles of Confederation was the original perceived strength: there was no central government with any sort of power.

As a solution, the Constitution was written and when faced with the question of who should be the executive of this new government, all of the Congressmen decided that it should be George Washington, the leader of this fledgling state.

Washington served for two terms before passing the duties of President off to Thomas Jefferson for the same reason that he resigned his position as commander in chief years earlier. He was no king, and the United States was no kingdom.

Washington's Legacy

There are a number of traditions that have followed Washington throughout history and have made him an almost legendary figure. Below are some of the more popularly known stories or facts about Washington's legacy:

  • A legend states that as a child, Washington (seemingly without purpose) chopped down a cherry tree. When questioned by his father as to who was responsible, young George responded, "I cannot tell a lie, it was I who chopped down the cherry tree." This added to the legend of General Washington being an upright individual and certainly a model for young citizens.

  • Washington started the tradition of Presidents serving only two terms. There was no law that said that Presidents must not serve more than two terms until the mid-20th century, but for over 150 years, this tradition was honored..

  • The Washington Monument, built in George Washington's honor, is the world's tallest stone structure and obelisk and is one of the most recognizable sights in the District of Colombia. .

  • George Washington's birthday was a national holiday for many years before it was merged into President's day, a day where American's celebrate the service of their head executives..


The White House on George Washington

Mount Vernon is Washington's former estate and is now a museum

Learn more about the convention that Washington Presided over

The Washington Monument

George Washington's Birthday


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