George Washington was the first president of The United States of America having served the country for two periods; he gracefully declined to vie for a third term.
George Washington’s birthday, which Americans celebrate to date, is the 22nd of February, 1732. He was born in Pope’s CreekVirginia, a British colony. His parents, Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington, together with his five other siblings, was a dedicated family of farmers.
In the year 1751 Washington was forced to travel to Barbados with his half-brother Lawrence who had tuberculosis, hoping that the warm weather would favor him. Lawrence died in 1752, leaving Washington to inherit his property, Mount Vernon, which was located near Alexandria, Virginia.
With no military background, Washington was appointed the commander of the Virginia forces in 1752. He served until 1758, after which he went back to Vernon in the year 1759. This same year he married an affluent woman, Martha Dandridge Custis, who had two children from a previous marriage. His leadership skills were put into action when he served in the Virginia House of Burgesses up to 1774.
George Washington experienced the high taxes that the British exerted on its colonists, and like many Americans, he appreciated the need for freedom. He became a representative to the First Continental Congress in 1774 in Philadelphia. The Second Continental Congress was called a year later just when the American Revolution was gaining momentum, and Washington was titled Commander in Chief of the continental Army. Washington managed to keep the colonial army highly motivated despite the lack of essential resources. This motivation and help from the French is what enabled his troops to end the Revolutionary War in 1781.
America’s First President
Washington wanted to retire after Great Britain and the US signed the peace treaty in 1783 to continue farming. In 1787 he was requested to participate in in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia as the head of the committee in charge of drafting the constitution. The delegates favored Washington as the best presidential candidate, and even though he was reluctant at first, when the first presidential election was held on January 7, 1789, he won by a landslide. The second candidate in terms of votes, John Adams, became the first vice president.
When Washington became president, the U.S had a population of 4 million in 11 states. Without predecessors to look up to, he maintained warm relations with other nations and kept a neutral position in conflicts. Washington managed to appoint John Jay as the first Chief Justice, set up a cabinet, and pass a bill that put in place the first national bank. He named two men with dissenting opinions in the cabinet (Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton) for regulation purposes.
Retirement and Demise
George Washington finished serving his second term in 1796 and turned down the chance to serve a third term. He retired to Mount Vernon to continue with farming. It was during a farm inspection that Washington caught a cold and died on December 14, 1799.
With titles like “Father of His Country,” Washington remains one of the most revered presidents both in life and in death in the US.
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