The Life of George Washington
George Washington was one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. He
served as commander-in-chief of the Continental army during the Revolutionary War, and
later served as the first president of the United States. His thoughts and ideas helped
mold the United States into the great country that it is today.
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He
was the eldest son of Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. He received no formal
education, but he read geography, military history, agriculture, deportment, and
composition. Washington later developed a powerful and convincing style of speech and
writing. He enjoyed sports and social occasions, and he later became a surveyor for
landowners on the Virginia frontier.
George Washington was elected president of the United States in 1789, and in New York
City on April 30, 1789, he took the oath of office as President of the United States at
age 57. He was extremely influential in the initial operation of the new government. After
the ballot he wrote, "My movements to the chair of government will be accompanied by
feeling not unlike those of a culprit, who is going to the place of his execution."
Washington's task was to organize a government but also create a role for the highest
officer of the new nation. Both tasks earned him enemies.
One of Washington's first duties of office was establishing a cabinet. He appointed
Alexander Hamilton secretary of treasury and Thomas Jefferson secretary of state.
Washington allowed Jefferson to pursue a policy of seeking trade with European nations.
Hamilton proposed important ideas such as a funded national debt and the creation of the
Bank of the United States.
The first United States census was taken in 1790 which showed the population to be four
million. He created departments within the government, each with different jobs. The
government issued money that was good in all states. President Washington also helped plan
a new capital for the nation that was named "Washington" in his honor. Also,
Vermont and Kentucky were added as states in 1791 and 1792 respectively.
George Washington reluctantly agreed to serve a second term as president, even though
he wanted to go home to Mount Vernon. An outbreak of war in Europe plagued Thomas
Jefferson's foreign policy design. Alexander Hamilton formed a pro-British foreign policy
during Washington's second administration. Jay's Treaty of 1795 settled outstanding
American differences with Great Britain. This treaty was extremely controversial, although
the treaty was passed by a narrow margin in both the Senate and the House of
The Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania against a federal excise tax was his
critical domestic challenge. He himself rode partway to the field at the head of the
militia that was raised to put down the rebellion. Washington reorganized his cabinet in
1795, and Tennessee became a state in 1796. He was asked to return for another term as
President, but he declined. Washington carefully planned a farewell speech to mark the end
of his presidency, and issued his farewell speech on September 7, 1796. He was succeeded
by his vice-president, John Adams the following March 4. He then retired to Mount Vernon,
where he died two years later on December 14, 1799 at the age of 67.
George Washington remains one of the most important figures in the history of the
United States of America. Washington's accomplishments are and will continue to serve as
precedents for future Presidents. I feel that his two terms in office as the President of
the United States were the most important periods in the history our country. He shaped
the government that we live under today, and if not for him, our government might be
Armbruster, Maxim Ethan. The Presidents of the United States and Their Administrations.
Flexner, James Thomas. George Washington. Little. 1967
Schwartz, Barry. George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol. Free. 1987