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George Washington was the first elected President of the United States. He was chosen by members of the 13 colonies due to his military prowess and strategic background. Many saw in him a little of uncompromising investment in the future of America, and a man who would not turn on his country for his own greed, like, the then , King of England. Washington was a man, who did not try to stand out but when he was called out to lead, he took on the responsibility whole heartedly. As he navigated his Presidency, he was still involved in many of the most important battles in our nation’s history, like the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. His confidant and speech writer was fellow founding father, Alexander Hamilton, together they usurped the British and helped shape the American government into what it is today. Though Washington is revered today for his excellence his true life story was filled with hardship, doubt, and mistakes that crafted him into the wonder that America knows him as today. This is the story of George Washington.
Washington like so many of our founding fathers had humble beginnings. Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County in, the then British colony of, Virginia. Washington was the oldest of six children and spent most of his childhood on the Ferry Farm. Washington, in a way, became the man of the house when he was 11 after his father died, in that he helped her manage the properties. As Washington grew older his intelligence continued to grow and he made a career in being a surveyor. He was able to buy a small piece of land with his earnings, and went on an expedition to Barbados with his brother in 1751. While, they were there his brother contracted small pox, he was already sick with tuberculosis, but he recovered. Washington’s brother died in 1752 and Washington inherited his property in Mount Vernon.
Washington was renowned, even back then, for mastering any task he took on. This caused him to catch the eye of a few Virginia militia leaders who decided to make him a commander. Washington during his time with the militia was involved with America’s earliest battles involving; Native Americans, French, and the British, especially the French and Indian War. This war marked a time of insecurity in Washington, in that he was responsible for people’s lives in areas where the enemy had the advantage. He was defeated by French forces in a never ending secession between 1754 and 1755. This wars result was a British led ownership of the disputed lands and driving out the French forces and allying with Native tribes who supported them during the war or could become beneficial. Washington left the war with a recognized points of improvement, in terms of his tactics of war.
After that war, Washington had proved himself in so much in it’s last stages, in terms of tactical planning and strategy, he was promoted leader of all the Virginia militias. After his service with the militia he resigned in 1759, he married Martha Curtis, a widowed woman who already had two children, in January that year, and sought to focus on making Mount Vernon fruitful. He cultivated Mount Vernon from a 2000 acre single farm to a 8000 acre property with five farms. Hos work sparked his interest in crops and potential variations that could withstand certain weather conditions, and led to his stance on the conservation of land.
The 1760’s were a spring platform Washington, in that he managed a success like no other in a short amount time. The societal climate in America during this period was tense and on the cusp of all put war with Britain, and after the heavy tariffs and taxes forced on the colonists by the King, Washington encouraged the idea pf American Independence from Britain. Washington was a delegate at the First Continental Congress in ’74, then, again, at the Second Continental Congress. At the Second Congress he was elected Commander in Chief of the newly established Continental Army. Washington showed his prowess in remaining level headed despite his odds. Washington motivated his men, even though most were untrained and skittish. He called on the assistance of Alexander Hamilton, who in turn called on his friends Hercules Mulligan and Lafayette. Hamilton picked up were Washington left off, together they had a strategy to keep their soldiers alive and dissuade British forces. With Hamilton’s help, Washington, who was leading an army on one third of the resources that were promised by Congress, changed the tide of the war throigh intricate spy networks, stealing supplies and heavy weaponry, and having French allies. Washington’s connection with Hamilton connected him to Lafayette who was apart of the French Revolution. The French aided America in the Battle of Yorktown and we were free of British forces by the end of 1781.
By 1783 a true peace treaty between America and Britain was signed. Washington returned to Mount Vernon and lived with his family and tended to his land. He was called to Philadelphia, again, and this time at the Constitutional Convention he was asked to be President, the first of the new nation. A public vote was constructed and tallied, Washington won and John Adams came in second, becoming the first vice president. Washington was elected, as President, on January 7, 1789 and inaugurated on April 30, his first acts as President were choosing Thomas Jefferson, who came back from being an Ambassador in France, and Hamilton as Secretaries of State and Treasury respectively. Most of his time was spent establishing and finalizing important national aspects such as; The National Bank, The United States Constitution, and political clashes , meaning in fighting between Jefferson and Hamilton, constantly.
Washington decided to resign from the Presidency seat in 1796 after two terms, at the age of 64. In his farewell speech which was co-written by Hamilton, Washington urged the nation to strength its domestic bounds and to limit the influence of foreign powers and entities as much as possible.
At this point of his life Washington had dedicated over forty years of his life to this new found nation and was now at a place of rest. Washington’s last days were spent with his family and on his beloved Mount Vernon. Washington became ill with a cold in December 1999 after a routine property inspection. The cold turned into a type of throat infection that he did not recover from. Washington died on December 14th of 1789. He was buried in Mount Vernon and all the colonies mourned the loss of such a dynamic leader.
Washington is a true example of how embracing your strengths and weaknesses can make you great. Washington knew how to seek after individuals who could build a future for the nation that would cause it to thrive. He, also, inspired many along the way. Washington is always depicted in media and literature as being courageous and close to perfection. Recently, the hit Broadway Musical Hamilton, and it’s soundtrack chronicled the relationship between him and Alexander Hamilton. Plays, musicals, books, poems, music, and more all influenced, inspired, or both by one man, George Washington.
History.com Staff. “George Washington.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 06 May 2017.
Vickery, Paul S. Washington: A Legacy of Leadership. Nashville: Nelson, 2011. Print.
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