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
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
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
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 completely different.
Armbruster, Maxim Ethan. The Presidents of the
United States and Their Administrations.
Flexner, James Thomas. George Washington. Little.
Schwartz, Barry. George Washington: The Making
of an American Symbol. Free. 1987