George Washington

Founding Father, 1st president of the United States / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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George Washington (February 22, 1732  December 14, 1799) was an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Second Continental Congress as commander of the Continental Army in June 1775, Washington led Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War and then served as president of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, which drafted and ratified the Constitution of the United States and established the American federal government. Washington has thus been called the "Father of his Country".

Quick facts: George Washington, 1st President of the Unite...
George Washington
Head and shoulders portrait of George Washington
Portrait, 1796
1st President of the United States
In office
April 30, 1789  March 4, 1797
Vice PresidentJohn Adams
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byJohn Adams
7th Senior Officer of the United States Army
In office
July 13, 1798  December 14, 1799
PresidentJohn Adams
Preceded byJames Wilkinson
Succeeded byAlexander Hamilton
Commander in Chief of the Continental Army
In office
June 19, 1775  December 23, 1783
Appointed byContinental Congress
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byHenry Knox (as Senior Officer)
14th Chancellor of the College of William & Mary
In office
April 30, 1788  December 14, 1799
PresidentJames Madison
Preceded byRichard Terrick (1776)
Succeeded byJohn Tyler (1859)
Delegate from Virginia to the Continental Congress
In office
September 5, 1774  June 16, 1775
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byThomas Jefferson
Member of the Virginia House of Burgesses
In office
July 24, 1758  June 24, 1775
Preceded byHugh West
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Personal details
BornFebruary 22, 1732 [O.S. February 11, 1731]
Popes Creek, Virginia Colony, British America
DiedDecember 14, 1799(1799-12-14) (aged 67)
Mount Vernon, Virginia, U.S.
Resting placeMount Vernon, Virginia
38°42′28.4″N 77°05′09.9″W
Political partyIndependent
(m. 1759)
RelativesWashington family
  • Planter
  • military officer
  • statesman
  • surveyor
SignatureCursive signature in ink
Military service
Years of service
  • 1752–1758 (Virginia Militia)
  • 1775–1783 (Continental Army)
  • 1798–1799 (U.S. Army)
See list

Washington's first public office, from 1749 to 1750, was as surveyor of Culpeper County in the Colony of Virginia. He subsequently received military training and was assigned command of 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 in Philadelphia, which appointed him Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Washington led American forces to a decisive victory over the British in the Revolutionary War, leading the British to sign the Treaty of Paris, which acknowledged the sovereignty and independence of the United States. He resigned his commission in 1783 after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War.

Washington played an indispensable role in adopting and ratifying the Constitution, which replaced the Articles of Confederation in 1789. He was then twice elected president by the Electoral College unanimously. As the first U.S. president, Washington implemented a strong, well-financed national government while remaining impartial in a fierce rivalry that emerged 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 use of the title "Mr. President" and the two-term tradition. His 1796 farewell address became a preeminent statement on republicanism in which he wrote about the importance of national unity and the dangers regionalism, partisanship, and foreign influence pose to it.

Washington has been memorialized by monuments, a federal holiday, various media depictions, geographical locations including the national capital, the State of Washington, stamps, and currency. He is ranked among the greatest U.S. presidents. In 1976, Washington was posthumously promoted to the rank of General of the Armies, the highest rank in the U.S. Army. His legacy is marred, however, by his ownership of slaves and his complicated relationship with slavery, as well as his policy to assimilate Native Americans into the Anglo-American culture and waging war against Native American nations during the Revolutionary Wars and the Northwest Indian War.