George Washington

US President

1732 – 1799

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Who was George Washington?

George Washington was the first President of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the convention that drafted the Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation and established the position of President.

Washington was elected President as the unanimous choice of the electors in 1788, and he served two terms in office. He oversaw the creation of a strong, well-financed national government that maintained neutrality in the wars raging in Europe, suppressed rebellion, and won acceptance among Americans of all types. His leadership style established many forms and rituals of government that have been used since, such as using a cabinet system and delivering an inaugural address. Further, the peaceful transition from his presidency to the presidency of John Adams established a tradition that continues into the 21st century. Washington was hailed as "father of his country" even during his lifetime.

Washington was born into the provincial gentry of Colonial Virginia; his wealthy planter family owned tobacco plantations and slaves. After both his father and older brother died when he was young, Washington became personally and professionally attached to the powerful William Fairfax, who promoted his career as a surveyor and soldier. Washington quickly became a senior officer in the colonial forces during the first stages of the French and Indian War. Chosen by the Second Continental Congress in 1775 to be commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution, Washington managed to force the British out of Boston in 1776, but was defeated and almost captured later that year when he lost New York City. After crossing the Delaware River in the dead of winter, he defeated the British in two battles, retook New Jersey and restored momentum to the Patriot cause.

Famous Quotes:

  • Every post is honorable in which a man can serve his country.
  • Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.
  • Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.
  • Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
  • We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.
  • If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War.
  • A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.
  • Not only do I pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can clearly forsee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union, by consolidating it in a common bond of principle.
  • You will therefore send me none but Natives, and Men of some property, if you have them.
  • I do not mean to exclude altogether the idea of patriotism. I know it exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But I will venture to assert, that a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward.

Citation

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Born
Feb 22, 1732
Westmoreland County
Also known as
  • The Father of the United States
  • The Father of Our Country
  • Town Destroyer
  • The American Fabius
  • Father of His Country
  • The American Cincinnatus
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Religion
  • Episcopal Church
  • Anglicanism
  • Church of England
  • Deism
Nationality
  • Kingdom of Great Britain
  • United States of America
Profession
Employment
  • President
    (1789/04/20 - 1797/03/04)
  • President, Federal government of the United States
    (1789/04/20 - 1797/03/04)
Lived in
  • Fairfax County, Virginia
Died
Dec 14, 1799
Mount Vernon
Resting place
Mount Vernon

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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