George Washington

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George Washington led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787. Washington became the first president by unanimous choice, and oversaw the creation of a strong, well-financed national government that maintained neutrality in the wars raging in Europe, suppressed rebellion and won acceptance among Americans of all types. His leadership style established many forms and rituals of government that have been used since, such as using a cabinet system and delivering an inaugural address. Washington is universally regarded as the "Father of his country". Image courtesy: xtimeline.com

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Early Life

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. George Washington was born on their Pope's Creek Estate near present-day Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County, Virginia. George's father Augustine was a slave-owning tobacco planter who later tried his hand in iron-mining ventures. After both his father and older brother died young, Washington became personally and professionally attached to the powerful William Fairfax, who promoted his career as a surveyor and soldier. Washington quickly became a senior officer in the colonial forces during the first stages of the French and Indian War. Image courtesy: wikipedia.org

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Early Life
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French and Indian War (Seven Years War) 1754 â€" 1758

As a young man, Washington joined the Virginia militia. He and six men traveled 500 miles north to the shores of Lake Erie to deliver a message to the French - the French were ordered to stop settling land that was claimed by the British. This land dispute led to a battle in which Washington and 160 men lost to the French; this was the beginning of the French and Indian War (the British and the Colonists fought the French and some Indian tribes). After many heroic battles, Washington became a colonel and the leader of Virginia's militia. The British eventually won the French and Indian War. Image courtesy: acclaimimages.com

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French and Indian War (Seven Years War) 1754 â€" 1758
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Virginia Politician

After 1769, Washington became a leader in Virginia's opposition to Great Britain's colonial policies. At first he hoped for reconciliation with Britain, although some British policies had touched him personally. Discrimination against colonial military officers had rankled deeply, and British land policies and restrictions on western expansion after 1763 had seriously hindered his plans for western land speculation. In addition, he shared the usual planter's dilemma in being continually in debt to his London agents. As a delegate (1774-75) to the First and Second Continental Congress, Washington did not participate actively in the deliberations, but his presence was undoubtedly a stabilizing influence. In June 1775 he was Congress's unanimous choice as commander in chief of the Continental forces. Image courtesy: mentalfloss.com

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Virginia Politician
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Revolutionary War

In 1776, the Colonists declared their independence from the British. General Washington led ragtag Patriot troops who were poorly trained, barely paid, badly equipped, and outnumbered by the British. Due to the brilliant planning of George Washington and some help from the French late in the War, the British were defeated in 1781 after many bloody battles. The Americans were now independent of the British.

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Revolutionary War
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The US Constitution

After independence, the Americans were governed under the Articles of Confederation (adopted by the Patriots in 1777), but the country struggled. In May 1787, Washington headed the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convension in Philadelphia and was unanimously elected presiding officer. His presence lent prestige to the proceedings, and although he made few direct contributions, he generally supported the advocates of a strong central government. During this period the US Constitution was written. Image courtesy: glogster.com

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The US Constitution
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President of the US

Washington was unanimously elected President of the United States of America by electors in early 1789 and again in 1792. Both votes were unanimous. John Adams was his vice-president. Washington's first inauguration took place in New York City, New York (which was the first capital of the USA, from 1789 to 1790). Washington's second inauguration took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (it was the capital from 1790 to 1800). Washington refused a third Presidential term, saying in his farewell speech that a longer rule would give one man too much power. During Washington's presidency, the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the US Constitution) was adopted (in 1791). The Bill of Rights guarantees the rights of the American people. In Washington's cabinet were Thomas Jefferson (Secretary of State), Alexander Hamilton (Secretary of Treasury), Henry Knox (Secretary of War), and Edmund Randolph (Attorney General). Image courtesy: funnyordie.com

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President of the US
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Retirement

After retiring from the presidency in March 1797, Washington returned to Mount Vernon with a profound sense of relief. He devoted much time to farming and other business interests. By 1798, relations with France had deteriorated to the point that war seemed imminent, and on July 4, 1798, President Adams offered Washington a commission as lieutenant general and Commander-in-chief of the armies raised or to be raised for service in a prospective war. He reluctantly accepted, and served as the senior officer of the United States Army between July 13, 1798, and December 14, 1799. He participated in the planning for a Provisional Army to meet any emergency that might arise, but avoided involvement in details as much as possible, delegating most of the work, including leadership of the army. Image courtesy: contemporarymakers.blogspot.com

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Retirement
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Death

Washington died on December 14, 1799, at his home, Mt. Vernon, located in Fairfax County, Virginia. After his death, the nation's capital was moved from Philadelphia to a location on the border of Virginia and Maryland near Washington's home, and was named Washington, District of Columbia in his honor. Image courtesy: firstinpeace.com

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Death
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Monuments and memorials

Washington's face and image are often used as national symbols of the United States. He appears on contemporary currency, including the one-dollar bill and the quarter coin, and on U.S. postage stamps. Along with appearing on the first postage stamps issued by the U.S. Post Office in 1847, Washington, together with Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Lincoln, is depicted in stone at the Mount Rushmore Memorial. The Washington Monument, one of the best known American landmarks, was built in his honor. The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, was constructed between 1922 and 1932 with voluntary contributions from all 52 local governing bodies of the Freemasons in the United States. The Confederate Seal prominently featured George Washington on horseback, in the same position as a statue of him in Richmond, Virginia. Since 1847, one of the defining hallmarks of a U.S. President is his appearance on U.S. currency and postage. Image courtesy: newbabynews.blogspot.com

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Monuments and memorials
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