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George Washington was the first United States president and a great military leader. He served two terms as U.S. president, from 1789 to 1797. Washington was the son of a wealthy planter, and was raised in colonial Virginia. When Washington was young, he worked as a surveyor and then later fought in the French and Indian War (1754-63). George Washington has helped shape the country into what it is today.
“”George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, at his family’s plantation on Pope’s Creek in Westmoreland County, in the British colony of Virginia, to Augustine Washington (1694-1743) and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington (1708-89),”” stated History.com. George was the oldest of Augustine and Mary Washington’s six children. George spent a lot of his time at Ferry Farm, a plantation near Fredericksburg, Virginia. According to History.com, “”After Washington’s father died when he was 11, it’s likely he helped his mother manage the plantation.”” When George Washington was around forty he began to advance his military career.
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In December 1752, Washington, who had very little to no military experience, was made a commander of the Virginia militia. He saw action in the French and Indian War and was eventually put in charge of all of Virginia’s militia forces. By 1759, Washington had resigned, returned to Mount Vernon and was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he served until 1774. In January 1759, he married Martha Dandridge Custis (1731-1802), a wealthy widow that had two children. Washington became a caring stepfather to the children.Washington and Martha never had any of their own children.
Washington served as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1774 in Philadelphia. When the Second Continental Congress assembled a year later, the American Revolution had begun in earnest, and Washington was named was named Commander in chief of the Continental Army. Washington proved to be a general than military strategist. “”His strength lay not in his genius on the battlefield but in his ability to keep the struggling colonial army together (History.com).”” Washington’s troops were inexperienced and lacked food, ammunition, and other supplies. Some soldiers didn’t even have shoes in the winter. Even though the times were tough, Washington was able to give them the motivation and direction to keep going. “”Over the course of the grueling eight-year war, the colonial forces won few battles but consistently held their own against the British,”” stated History.com. Also according to History.com, “”In October 1781, with the aid of the French (who allied themselves with the colonists over their rivals the British), the Continental forces were able to capture British troops under General Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805) in Yorktown, Virginia.”” This event ended the Revolutionary War and Washington was declared a national hero.
In 1783, with a peace treaty signed between Great Britain and the U.S., Washington, believing he had done his job, gave up his command of the army and went back to Mount Vernon, wanting to resume his life as a farmer and family man. However, in 1787, George Washington was asked to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and lead the committee in drafting the Constitution. His good leadership convinced the delegates that he’s the most capable man to be the nation’s first president.
At first Washington was hesitant to become president because he wanted to go back to living a normal life. However, the public opinion was so strong that Washington gave in. The first presidential election was held on January 7, 1789 and Washington won easily. John Adams (1735-1826), who got the second largest amount of votes, became the nation’s first vice-president. Washington, who was 57-years-old at the time, was inaugurated on April 30, 1789, in New York City. Since Washington D.C., where all presidents live today, wasn’t built yet, Washington lived in New York and Philadelphia.
In 1796, after two terms as president and declined serving a third term, Washington retired. He returned back to his plantation at Mount Vernon and devoted his attentions into making his plantation as productive as it had been before he had been elected to become president. According to History.com, “”In December 1799, Washington caught a cold after inspecting his properties in the rain. The cold developed into a throat infection and Washington died on the night of December 14 at the age of 67. He was entombed at Mount Vernon, which in 1960 was designated a national historic landmark.””
Washington did many great things during his lifetime. He lead the Continental Army into victory against the British, he became the first U.S. president for two terms and declined a third, he was a great military leader, he helped keep the soldiers spirits up during the hard times in the war, and he did so much more. George Washington has shaped the United States in great ways and turned it into what it is today.
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