George Washington President Biography

George Washington Biography Timeline


George Washington was the very first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. It is interesting to look at the background which prepared him for the role of first President of the United States.

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, at a time when America was one of the British Colonies. He was born on his family's Pope's Creek Estate near present-day Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

In his youth, Washington worked as a surveyor, and in this way he acquired invaluable knowledge of the terrain around his native Colony of Virginia, which helped him later. In 1749, he was appointed as surveyor of the newly created Culpeper County. In 1752, Washington joined the Virginia militia and was appointed as a district adjutant general, and appointed Major at the age of 20.
In April 1775, fighting broke out, which started the American Revolutionary War, also known as the American War of Independence. Washington had a sound military back-ground, which aided his appointment as Commander of the Continental Army. At this time The British had besieged Boston, and Washington placed artillery on Dorchester Heights overlooking the city, and forced the British to evacuate it. In August 1776, the British launched a massive naval and land campaign designed to seize New York. Washington engaged the enemy for the first time at the Battle of Long Island, the largest battle of the entire war, a British victory which forced Washington out of New York and across New Jersey. On the night of December 25, 1776, Washington staged a counter-attack, leading the American forces across the Delaware River and captured nearly 1,000 Hessians. He followed this victory with another one at Princeton, which quickly raised the morale of his Continental army.
Not everything went Washington's way, as he suffered a defeat in the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777. France then entered the war, in support of America. In December 1777, Washington's army camped at Valley Forge for six months, during which time 2,500 of the 10,000-strong force died from disease and exposure. However, he organized a full-scale training program, under the supervision of Baron von Steuben, a veteran of the Prussian general staff.
In 1778, the British evacuated Philadelphia to New York, and Washington attacked them at Monmouth, driving them from the battlefield. Afterwards, the British headed towards New York, and Washington moved his army outside the city. He delivered the final blow to the British in 1781, after a French naval victory allowed American and French forces to trap the British army in Virginia. In 1783 the Treaty of Paris was signed, by which Britain recognized the independence of the United States.
At first, the United States was governed without a President under the Articles of Confederation, which were the forerunner to the Constitution. In 1789, Washington was unanimously elected as President, as he had gained a high reputation for his military success. He took the oath of office as the first President under the Constitution for the United States of America on April 30, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City.
The 1st United States Congress voted to pay Washington a salary of $25,000 a year, which was a large sum in 1789. Washington's initial reaction was to decline the salary. However, he later accepted it, on the grounds that otherwise the presidency would be perceived as limited only to independently wealthy individuals, who could serve afford to serve without salary. Washington ensured that the titles and trappings were suitably republican, as he had no wish to emulate the European countries, such as his preference for the title "Mr. President".
Washington proved an able administrator. Whilst he reluctantly served a second term, he refused to run for a third, and so established the policy for a president to serve a maximum of two terms, which later became law by the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.
At this early period, there were no political parties in America, and Washington warned against them, on the grounds that they would cause conflict and stagnation. Washington was a man known for his high values, as evidenced by the famous story when he cut down his father's cherry tree, and confessed "I cannot tell a lie. It was I!" Therefore, it is not surprising that his Farewell Address of 1796 forms one of the most influential statements of American political values. It gives advice on the value of the Constitution and the rule of law, the evils of political parties, and the proper virtues of a republican people.
After retiring from the presidency in March 1797, Washington returned to Mount Vernon, and devoted much time of his time to farming. On December 12, 1799, he went out on horseback in the snow to inspect his farms, and the next morning, awoke with a bad cold and a throat infection called quinsy. He died on the evening of December 14, 1799, at the age of 67. Modern doctors believe that Washington died largely because of his treatment, which included bloodletting, which resulted in a loss of five pints of blood.

George Washington Interesting Facts

George Washington a lawyerWashington acquired much legal training incidentally in connection with his duties as guardian and the many trusteeships and executorships which he assumed. He was, moreover, for years a justice of the peace of Fairfax County and not only heard minor cases, but also was a member of the County Court, which had an extended jurisdiction in equity as well as in civil and criminal law. In colonial days the justices were the county gentlemen, not trained lawyers, but the service was an excellent training in legal knowledge.

Although he helped plan the nation's new capital city that was named for him, he never lived there. New York City and, later, Philadelphia were the nation's capitals while he was president.

Washington's Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and concurrent with Presidents' Day. Washington's Birthday is commonly referred to as Presidents' Day

George Washington Quotes
Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.

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