George Washington is one of the most well-known figures in American history.
He was not only the First American President but played a critical role in leading the Continental Army in the defeat of the British in the American Revolution.
Renowned for his honesty, Washington’s image is found on everything from American currency to the statues in his honor throughout the country. His nickname was the father of his country.
George Washington was the son of a planter and landowner in Colonial Virginia. His father died when George was only 11, and he was raised by his older brother, Lawrence. It was Lawrence that educated George and gave him instructions on gentlemanly social behavior.
At the age of 16, George worked as a surveyor, taking measurements and mapping out new lands. Only a few years later, George became a member of the Virginia militia, where he was a leader. The militia was fighting in the French and Indian War.
Once that war was over, George married the widow Martha Dandridge Custis. His brother Lawrence had died, and he took over the Mount Vernon estate so that he could raise Martha’s two children from her former marriage. It wasn’t long before George was elected to the Virginia legislature, and he had a platform to voice their complaints about the unfair treatment by the British. When the British didn’t listen to their complaints, those involved in the political arena of the time decided that they would have to fight.
To organize their efforts, representatives created the First and Second Continental Congress. George was selected as the Virginia delegate for both meetings. A representative from each colony got together to decide how they were going to fight the British together. In 1775 George was appointed the Continental Army general.
There wasn’t an army, but instead, volunteer farmers that weren’t trained in combat. They were going up against a well-trained British force, and the odds seemed almost insurmountable. George worked with his troops, and over six years, he led them to many victories against the British.
One of the most famous victories involved his crossing of the Delaware River that was icy on Christmas, where they had the victory at Yorktown, Virginia, with the surrender of the British Army in 1781.
During the time that George led his troops, there weren’t any government budgets for uniforms or food. He had to rely on the generosity and sometimes raiding local farms to feed and clothe the men that were fighting for the freedom of the country.
Once the Revolutionary War was over, the country needed leaders. Everyone had escaped the rule of royalty, and no one wanted to see a King leading the new land. All that had been involved as representatives gathered in multiple meetings to try to decide what form of leadership they should have. Many had been part of the founders that were considered, but George Washington was finally unanimously voted on to be the first President.
George served during peacetime in the country, which gave him the ability to create specific traditions and roles for the position; many are carried through today. George played an important role in shaping the Constitution and in some of the government’s organizational aspects.
Washington appointed many of his friends as he formed the first presidential cabinet. Alexander Hamilton became Secretary of the Treasury, and Thomas Jefferson was Secretary of State. He knew he could trust these men to make the kind of decisions that were needed.
After eight years in the title of President, George stepped down. George caught a cold only a few years after he left the office, and the infection was so bad that he died December 14, 1799.
Facts about George Washington
What did you learn?
What was George Washington’s first job?
What is the name of George Washington’s estate?
George was elected to what two sessions that gathered to discuss how to fight the British?
First and Second Continental Congress
In 1775 George was appointed to what military position?
Continental Army General
Victory at Yorktown, Virginia
How did George Washington die?
Infection from a cold