Sunday, December 14, 2014

GEORGE WASHINGTON ~ February 22, 1732 ~ December 14, 1799

George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He was also the commander in chief of all American forces during the American Revolutionary War.

His mother was Mary Ball and his father was Augustine Washington. They were teachers at the local university. They lived in Virginia. As a child, Washington did not attend school for very long.

There is a nice but untrue story that Washington cut down his father's cherry tree. When asked, he did not lie and said that he did cut down the tree. This story is supposed to show that Washington was honest. The funny thing is that the story is not honest because it was made up by Parson Weemes.

Before the Revolutionary War
Washington was a farmer like his father. His large farm, or plantation, was called Mount Vernon. He also served as a surveyor, someone who measures farms.

Washington began his army career during the French and Indian War. He first was a messenger for Virginia. He later led troops against the French. The British did not think soldiers from the colonies were as good as they were, so Washington went home and started to farm again.

In 1759, Washington married Martha Custis Washington. They did not have any children.

The Revolution
Washington wanted the Thirteen Colonies to be independent and was a delegate to the Continental Congress, which wanted independence. Washington was chosen by the Second Continental Congress to be the commanding general of the Continental Army. Washington led the army from 1775 until the end of the war in 1783. He is noted for leading troops across the Delaware River on Christmas Day, 1777, in a surprise attack on German mercenaries at Trenton, New Jersey. The British had more troops and more supplies than Washington. However, Washington kept his troops together. He did not win many battles, but he never let the British destroy his army. With the help of the French navy, Washington made the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. The war officially ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

After the war
When the Revolutionary war ended, Washington went home to Mount Vernon. He wanted the colonies to have a strong government. Washington was voted president of the Constitutional Convention in 1785. Washington wanted the states to ratify the Constitution of the United States and they did.

In 1789, Washington was elected president without any competition. Washington was the first President of the United States. Washington helped the government get started. Washington did not belong to a political party. He was re-elected to a second term, but chose not to run for a third term. Because of this, most other presidents chose to follow this tradition of not running for a 3rd term.

Washington went back home to Mount Vernon after his second term ended in 1797. He died on December 14, 1799, in Mount Vernon at the age of 67. He was the only leader of the early United States who decided in his will that his slaves were to be freed once he himself and his wife had died. Washington, D.C. and the state of Washington are named after him. He is on the one dollar bill and the quarter coin.

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