George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continental Congress as commander of the Continental Army, Washington led the Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War, and presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which established the Constitution of the United States and a federal government. Washington has been...
George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was an American soldier, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continental Congress as commander of the Continental Army, Washington led the Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War, and presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which established the Constitution of the United States and a federal government. Washington has been called the "Father of the Nation" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the country.
Washington's first public office was serving as official Surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia from 1749 to 1750. Subsequently, he received his initial military training (as well as a command with the Virginia Regiment) during the French and Indian War. He was later elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and was named a delegate to the Continental Congress. Here he was appointed Commanding General of the Continental Army. With this title, he commanded American forces (allied with France) in the defeat and surrender of the British at the Siege of Yorktown during the American Revolutionary War. He resigned his commission after the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783.
Washington played an indispensable role in adopting and ratifying the Constitution of the United States. He was then twice elected president by the Electoral College unanimously. As president, he implemented a strong, well-financed national government while remaining impartial in a fierce rivalry between cabinet members Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. During the French Revolution, he proclaimed a policy of neutrality while sanctioning the Jay Treaty. He set enduring precedents for the office of president, including the title "Mr. President", and his Farewell Address is widely regarded as a pre-eminent statement on republicanism.
Washington controlled over 577 slaves in his lifetime, who worked on his farm and in his houses. He signed measures passed by Congress to protect slavery, as well as measures passed by Congress to curtail slavery. He became troubled with the institution of slavery during the 1770s, and in his will he stipulated that one of his slaves, William Lee, should be freed upon his death, along with 33 more slaves that he acquired in a prior debt agreement with his brother-in-law. He also stipulated that the other 123 slaves that he owned should be freed upon the death of his wife, Martha Washington. She however freed them on January 1, 1801, during her lifetime.He endeavored to assimilate Native Americans into the Anglo-American culture but fought indigenous resistance during instances of violent conflict. He was a member of the Anglican Church and the Freemasons, and he urged broad religious freedom in his roles as general and president. Upon his death, he was eulogized by Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen".Washington has been memorialized by monuments, a federal holiday, various media, geographical locations, including the national capital, the State of Washington, stamps, and currency, and many scholars and polls rank him among the greatest U.S. presidents. In 1976, as part of commemorations for the U.S. Bicentennial, Washington was posthumously promoted to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States.