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OTHER ITA SITES:
George Washington - The Best President?
George Washington is a much-admired person in many respects. As the first president of the United States, he set the course upon which the current three-branch system of federal government is based. George Washington is perhaps the one person who can most claim the title of Founding Father.
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Virginia. He was the son of well off plantation owner and spent his you in relative comfort. During his youth, the British Empire ruled the 13 colonies. Despite what you might assume, he was hardly a revolutionary and his stated goal was to become an officer in the British Army! Obviously, that goal never came to fruition.
As George Washington grew into adulthood, he became an expert surveyor of land. He worked in what was then called the American West and purchased vast tracts of land with other family members. He eventually owned over 56 thousand acres.
In 1752, George Washington joined the Virginia militia. He quickly became an officer and played a pivotal part in the French and Indian War. The French had moved into the Ohio Valley, which aggravated the British to no end. Washington was given the task of telling the French to leave the territory. When they refused, Washington suggested a fort be built and his superiors agreed.
As the fort was being built, Washington was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and given the task of defending it. Leading 159 men, he was victorious in minor skirmishes. Instead of being promoted to an officer position in the British Army, he was told no colonial could attain the position. Bitter, Washington resigned and the French turned the tide.
Desperate to turn the tide, the British Governor of Virginia reinstated George Washington by appointing him Commander of all the Colonial forces. Within three years, the French were defeated and Washington was famous. He married Martha Curtis in 1959, but they never had any children.
By the 1760s, George Washington had retired from the military and entered politics. He was a member of the Virginia legislature and a major critic of the British. In 1770, Washington began advocating forceful resistance to British rule.
In 1775, the colonies formed a Continental Congress to address the conflict with the British. George Washington was elected Commander of all colonial forces. War had already broken out in Massachusetts. Washington and his troops soon joined and the British were defeated in Boston in 1776. By summer, however, the British has sent more troops and defeated the colonial forces on numerous occasions.
Facing total defeat and a lack of money, George Washington did an amazing thing. He rallied his rag tag colonial forces and paid their wages out of his own finances. By late December of 1776, the colonial forces were starting to turn the tide against the British. After more victories in 1777, the French offered their support. It took a few years to arrive, but Washington was eventually able to completely defeat the British. In 1781, the British surrendered much of the east coast. In 1783, a treaty was signed granting the colonies their independence.
On February 4, 1789, George Washington was elected the first President of the United States of America with John Adams as vice president. As the first president, he put in place many precedents and traditions including:
1. Being referred to as Mr. President.
2. Refused to be declared King.
3. The creation of an inaugural event and ball.
4. Swearing on a bible when taking the oath of president.
5. Moving the capital to Washington, D.C.
6. Agreeing to the passage of the Bill of Rights.
7. Proclaimed the neutrality of the United States in all international conflicts.
In 1792, President Washington ran for re-election and was unopposed. He left office in March 1797. On December 14, 1799, he died of pneumonia on his Virginia plantation.
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