George Washington

America's First President

George Washingtion (1732-1799)

Birthday: February 23, 1732

Birthplace: Westmoreland, Virginia

Died: December 14, 1799 (67 years old)

Early Life

With ancestry from Sulgrave, England, George's great grandfather, John Washington, had immigrated to Virginia in 1657. Born into a prolific family, the Washington's were moderately prosperous members of the Virginia Gentry. Collectively, George would have had 9 siblings. Sadly, 3 of the 9 weren't as lucky to reach adult hood. The lucky ones who made maturity include his two older half brothers Lawrence and Augustine, and his four full siblings Samuel, Elizabeth, John Augustine, and Charles. George's half brother Butler died an infant, his half sister Jane died at age 12, and his full sister Mildred died when she was about 1. When George was 12, is father died leaving hid half brother, Lawrence, to become his new father figure.

As a boy, Washington spend most of his time at Ferry Farm in Stafford Country near Fredericksburg. After the deaths of George's father, Lawrence had inherited another family property from his father, a plantation on the Potomac River which he named Mount Vernon. Likewise, after the death of Lawrence, George inherited both the Ferry Farm and Mount Vernon.


There was a lot of "supposed to's" in George Washington's life as a student. George was to cross the Atlantic Ocean to receive the rest of his occasion at England's Appleby School as his brother had once done, but the death of his father prevented this journey. At home, George had received the equivalent of an elementary school from a variety of tutors, and also a school run by an Anglican clergyman in or near Fredericksburg. Though his widowed mother was quick to deny this, there was talk of securing an appointment in the Royal Navy for George when he was 15.

Lawrence, George's half brother, always had good connections to get George ahead. In 1749, when George was just 17, Lawrence had landed him a gig as official surveyor for Culpeper County. This position enable George to purchase land in the Shenandoah Valley, the first of his many land acquisitions in west Virginia. Two years later, Lawrence fell ill with tuberculosis. George thought it best to take him to Barbados to see if the climate change would spike his health. This theory posed false, and back at Mount Vernon Lawrence had passed in 1752. Following, Lawrence's position of Adjutant General (militia leader) of Virginia was divided into four parts. George was then appointed one of the four with the rank of major in the Virginia Militia.

Career Before Presidency

In 1754, George was commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Virginia Militia. This position in the militia brought Washington to fight in what was to come the first battles of the French and Indians war. This conflict came about because Britain and France both strove to occupy the upper Ohio Valley. During these battles, George was thoroughly shot at. Washington escaped injury when four bullets cut through his coat. Two horses were also shot out from him during battle. Five years later, when the American Revolution commenced, Washington stayed to manage his lands around Mount Vernon. During these times, George was serving in the House of Burgess and did so for 16 years. The House of Burgess was the governing body in the colonies before the revolution struck. In 1774, Washington, with other Virginia Burgesses, was opposed to the excessive taxes the Brits imposed on the colonists. To that the Burgesses proposed a continental congress be held to take the place of the Virginia Assembly, which was under the direction of the British appointed Governor. Washington was then appointed chairman of the meeting that resulted in the forming of the First Continental Congress.

Washington's Cabinet

Vice President: John Adams

Secretary of War: Henry Knox

Secretary of Foreign Affairs: John Jay

Secretary of the Treasury: Alexander Hamilton

Secretary of State: Thomas Jefferson

Attorney General: Edmund Randolph

The Washington Presidency

On April 30, 1789, Washington was sworn into office in New York City. The nation unanimously voted for him to take the noble position and so he did with no previous guidelines. He then appointed his cabinet (listed below) and began to work. By being the first, he had to set the standard for the country's future within the government. Washington was a man with the people's needs in mind, and that translated into him nearly passing every bill congress gave him. The first session of congress was a bit rocky, due to the fact it had never been done before, and many plans for the country were set into action. Hamilton, extreme federalist, had proposed a financial plan Washington would be stupid to pass up, but Jefferson had a different perspective. The dissonance between the federalist and republican made the financial bill hard, yet finally agreeable to pass. After the deal was reached, Washington chose Washington D.C. as the new site for the capitol. The new site was chosen for its proximity to his childhood home at Mount Vernon. As time passed and the tragic death of Washington's mother subsided, Hamilton revealed a plan to establish a national bank in December 1790. With the north and south being divided in wanting this bill to pass, the discord within the states escalated to the development of political parties: Republican and Federalist. When Washington's term was coming to an end, he was content with not running a second term. With the help and persuasion of Hamilton and Jefferson, Washington reluctantly agreed to a second.

Life After Presidency

Washington left the position of president with only to years left to his life. He spent his remaining years restoring Mount Vernon, which he had neglected for many years. As foreign relations grew worse during Adams' presidency, Washington was appointed commander of the American Army. With old age, Washington grew less and less weak, limiting his actions as commander. Soon came the point to where he had to renounce his position. Quickly, Washington fell ill, claiming to have a sore throat then hours later a fatal illness. The humble man never complained of pain, apologizing to all the people who helped him for "causing them trouble." The expected small funeral turned into a whole ordeal. with thousands of people from all over mourning the death of this great man. He had left a will leaving his possessions to family and friends alike.

Successes and Failures


Helped organize the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787

Passed bill for National Bank which is still used today

Created the Federal Government


Announcing his farewell as president then running again (put doubt into the people)

Used slaves during presidency

The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

Washington for 2016 Candidate?

Collectively, Washington was a well rounded politician. He was for the people and a truly honest man. In today's fast-pace environment, I think Washington would get lost in translation. His traditional outlook would not match that of a modern politician breaking the boundaries on a daily basis. Washington's plan for no political parties has been completely diminished with the strong oppositions of the democrats and republicans.