Flexner, James Thomas. George Washington. Little. 1967George WahingtonGeorge Washington was one of the founding fathers of the United States of America. Heserved as commander-in-chief of the Continental army during the Revolutionary War, and laterserved as the first president of the United States.
His thoughts and ideas helped mold the UnitedStates into the great country that it is today. George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the eldest son of Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. He received noformal education, but he read geography, military history, agriculture, deportment, andcomposition. Washington later developed a powerful and convincing style of speech and writing. He enjoyed sports and social occasions, and he later became a surveyor for landowners on theVirginia frontier.
George Washington was elected president of the United States in 1789, and in New YorkCity on April 30, 1789, he took the oath of office as President of the United States at age 57. Hewas extremely influential in the initial operation of the new government. After the ballot he wrote,My movements to the chair of government will be accompanied by feeling not unlike those of aculprit, who is going to the place of his execution. Washington’s task was to organize agovernment but also create a role for the highest officer of the new nation. Both tasks earned himenemies. One of Washington’s first duties of office was establishing a cabinet.
He appointedAlexander Hamilton secretary of treasury and Thomas Jefferson secretary of state. Washingtonallowed Jefferson to pursue a policy of seeking trade with European nations. Hamilton proposedimportant ideas such as a funded national debt and the creation of the Bank of the United States. The first United States census was taken in 1790 which showed the population to be fourmillion.
He created departments within the government, each with different jobs. The governmentissued money that was good in all states. President Washington also helped plan a new capital forthe nation that was named Washington in his honor. Also, Vermont and Kentucky were addedas states in 1791 and 1792 respectively. George Washington reluctantly agreed to serve a second term as president, even though hewanted to go home to Mount Vernon.
An outbreak of war in Europe plagued Thomas Jefferson’sforeign policy design. Alexander Hamilton formed a pro-British foreign policy duringWashington’s second administration. Jay’s Treaty of 1795 settled outstanding American differenceswith Great Britain. This treaty was extremely controversial, although the treaty was passed by anarrow margin in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania against a federal excise tax was his criticaldomestic challenge.
He himself rode partway to the field at the head of the militia that was raisedto put down the rebellion. Washington reorganized his cabinet in 1795, and Tennessee became astate in 1796. He was asked to return for another term as President, but he declined. Washingtoncarefully planned a farewell speech to mark the end of his presidency, and issued his farewellspeech on September 7, 1796. He was succeeded by his vice-president, John Adams the followingMarch 4. He then retired to Mount Vernon, where he died two years later on December 14, 1799at the age of 67.
George Washington remains one of the most important figures in the history of the UnitedStates of America. Washington’s accomplishments are and will continue to serve as precedents forfuture Presidents. I feel that his two terms in office as the President of the United States were themost important periods in the history our country. He shaped the government that we live undertoday, and if not for him, our government might be completely different.