George Washington
Washington was born in Westmore County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732. He is the son of the late Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. Augustine was a tobacco farmer and a stock raiser. Washington spent most of his early childhood on the Ferry Farm in Fredricksburg, Virginia. He attended school up until his fifteenth year. Washington married Martha Dandridge on January 6,1759.
Washington spent his early adult years as a farmer and as a surveyor until he was appointed adjutant for the southern district of Virginia by Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddle. The next year he became the adjutant of the Northern Neck and Eastern Shore. In 1753, Dinwiddle warned the French to stop their infringements on the Ohio Valley land that was claimed by the king. Dinwiddle sent one messenger, but he failed. He gave Washington the order to warn the French on October 31, 1753. His party consisted of an interpreter, a guide, two men that were experienced traders with the Native Americans, and two others.

Washington left in November from Cumberland, Maryland, and traveled to Fort-Le Boeuf. When he arrived, he discovered that the French would fight for their land. The party nearly escaped from the French.

Washington was next appointed lieutenant colonel to an expedition to the Ohio Valley. In April, 1754, he set out from Alexandria with 160 men to reinforce a fort in southwestern Pennsylvania, only to find that the French took control of the fort and renamed it Fort-Duquesne. Washington then cautiously set up his own post within 40 miles of the French position. He attacked the French post on May 28,1754. He managed to kill the commander and nine others. They then took the rest prisoners.

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Washington immediently received a promotion to a full colonelcy. On July 3, 1754, the French drove him and 350 men into Fort Necessity. The French then took controlled of it with 700, men and forced Washington to surrender. They sent the unarmed colonials back to Virginia with honours of war. He had to then sign paper saying that he would not build a fort on the Ohio Valley for one year. In that same year he resigned his commission.
Washington was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1758 and served for seventeen years. He was elected to the First Continental Congress in 1774 and to the Second Continental Congress in 1775 because of his service in the House of Burgesses and his response to the British policies.

After fighting between Massachusetts and the British broke out in 1775,
Congress named Washington of the new Continental Army. He was first in charge of a small force in Boston and then moved his army to New York in March, 1776, when the British evacuated Boston. He was then defeated in New York by General William Howe and then left New York and retreated to northern New Jersey. Later he left New Jersey and went to Pennsylvania for safety.

On the morning of December 26, 1776, Washington captured Trenton
with a surprise attack. Also on January 3,1777, he defeated the British at Princeton. With these two victories Washington restored “Patriot Espirit”, and by that spring there were 8,000 new recruits.

Washington spent the following winter at Valley Forge. There his army experienced some of the worst conditions such as lack of warmth and disease. In 1780 Washington heard that the French landed in Chesapeake Bay to have a land and sea attack on the British in Virginia, so he marched south with about 1000 American and 6000 French troops under the Comte De Rochambeau. Washington told Marquis De Lafayette to prevent Cornwallis from leaving Yorktown. On October 19, 1781, Washington surrounded Cornwallis and forced him to surrender.

In 1787, Washington was elected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but was chosen President. In 1788 and in 1782 Washington was elected the first President of the United States.


Washington died of pneumonia in 1799 on his plantation on Mount Vernon.

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Introduction, Early Life, Early Career, General of the Continental Army, Return Home, President of the United States, Second Term as President, Last Years
I. IntroductionPrint section
Washington, George (1732-1799), first president of the United States (1789-1797) and one of the most important leaders in United States history. His role in gaining independence for the American colonies and later in unifying them under the new U.S. federal government cannot be overestimated. Laboring against great difficulties, he created the Continental Army, which fought and won the American Revolution (1775-1783), out of what was little more than an armed mob. After an eight-year struggle, his design for victory brought final defeat to the British at Yorktown, Virginia, and forced Great Britain to grant independence to its overseas possession.


With victory won, Washington was the most revered man in the United States.
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A lesser person might have used this power to establish a military dictatorship or to become king. Washington sternly suppressed all such attempts on his behalf by his officers and continued to obey the weak and divided Continental Congress. However, he never ceased to work for the union of the states under a strong central government. He was a leading influence in persuading the states to participate in the Constitutional Convention, over which he presided, and he used his immense prestige to help gain ratification of its product, the Constitution of the United States.


Although worn out by years of service to his country, Washington reluctantly accepted the presidency of the United States. Probably no other man could have succeeded in welding the states into a lasting union. Washington fully understood the significance of his presidency. I walk on untrodden ground, he said. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn in precedent. During eight years in office, Washington laid down the guidelines for future presidents.

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Washington lived only two years after turning over the presidency to his successor, John Adams. The famous tribute by General Henry Lee, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, accurately reflected the emotions that Washington’s death aroused. Later generations have crowned this tribute with the simple title Father of His Country.


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