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George Washington was born on 22nd February 1732 in Virginia During the American Revolution, he worked as the commander-in-chief and the general of the colonial militaries. He was the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797 period of 8 years serving from 1789 to 1797 (“Biography Of George Washington” 1 ). After his presidency, he went back to Virginia to attend to his estates where he died in 1799. George Washington was a leader of American continent army during the regime of colonialism in the United States of America (Knox 5). Through his leadership, the country picked up quickly after the Britons had left. The paper discusses the bibliography of George Washington and his struggle against the Britons in America. The discussion will involve his early life and his family, military and revolutionary leadership, winning independence, the presidency and finally his death.
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Early life and family
“Little is known about the early childhood of George Washington but his family could be traced to his great-grandfather in North America. His great-grandfather John Washington settled in North America after moving to Virginia from England” (Abbot 1). Little is known about the life of the family until his father Augustine. Augustine was born in 1694. The wealth of the family was from the ambition that Washington’s father had. He acquired slaves and land, grew tobacco and built mills. Washington was born in a family of six. Augustine married Washington’s mother, Mary Ball in 1731. All the six children survived into adulthood with George being the eldest.
George was homeschooled from when he was seven to when he became fifteen. The knowledge that he applied in his life is argued to be from the plantation foreman and backwoodsmen who he spent most of his time with. He acquired the skills of tobacco growing, stock rearing, and surveying. His father died when he was only eleven and he was brought up by his half-brother. When he was 16, he joined a surveying party to Virginia’s west territory (Abbot 1). He was appointed the following year to become an official surveyor of Culpeper County. He was in the field plotting for two years. The two-year experience made him toughened his mind and body. He also became more resourceful.
In 1752, his half-brother, Lawrence who brought him up died. Washington then became the manager of one of the largest estates in Virginia when he was only 20 years at the time. During his life, he considered farming as the best professions he had engaged into. He increased the estate to 8,000 acres.
France and Great Britain were at amity until the 1750s. The French military however after the 1750s started occupying Ohio valley where they meant to protect the French settlers. The borders of the French settlers’ land were not clear and there also were disputes as the borders. As Washington was growing up, he had shown some aspect of leadership and mainly after the death of his half-brother (Amy 46). The governor of Virginia then appointed Washington as an adjutant and gave him the responsibility to head the Virginia army. In October 1753, he was sent to Waterford to caution the French from getting into the land that belonged to the British. The French did not head to the warning. Washington returned and went back to the French with a troop to Fort Duquesne where they killed the commanding officer and nine of his soldiers and took the others as prisoners. The French counter-attacked the troops and captured Washington and his men and took them to his camp. After a siege the whole day, Washington admitted defeat and promised the French not return to them. He was embarrassed by being captured but he was grateful to have received honor and appreciations from the House of Burgesses and that he was in the papers for the actions. In 1755, he was awarded an honored rank of a colonel (Franklin 323). At the time, the British had developed a plan to assault the French forces that were attacking their land. At the encounter, he was shot in the cloak. His health was not good and was sent home in 1757. He went back to work in 1758.
Months after he was sent home, he got engaged to Martha Dandridge who was a widow and brought with her 18,000 from which Washington personally acquired six thousand acres. The acquisition of more land made him one of the wealthy landlords in Virginia. His engagement with Martha brought two children Martha who was 4 and John who was 6 (Franklin 323). Washington loved all of them and he was dejected when Martha passed away just before the start of the revolution. Jacky passed away during the revolution and he had no option but adopted two of his children. From the time that he retired until the beginning of the revolution, he mainly dedicated his life to developing his lands where he attended to his crops and livestock.
In summary, he was a son of ambitious parents namely Augustine and Mary Ball. He was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His family was a middle-class family living and surviving in the little wealth that they had acquired. His father moved him to two different homes. At first, he was moved to Potomac River and later on resettled in Ferry Farm within Rappahannock. From the age of 7 to 15, George was homeschooled. At that time he mastered the art of growing tobacco and maintaining domestic animals. George father passed away when he was at the age of 11 and he was brought up well by his half-brother. He was given a good upbringing until when he was old enough to marry and inherit his father’s plantation. At the age of 17, he was given the position of the official surveyor by Lord Fairfax. His work was based in Culpeper County. This made George develop an interest in owning western land holdings. When his brother died, George was left with the entire family land. He owned about 8,000 acres of land. In 1759, George Washington married Martha from a place known as Tidewater in Virginia. Martha came along with wealth and children from previous marriage.
Early Military Career
In early 1750s Britain and France started fighting for parts of American land. This gave George Washington a great opportunity to begin his career of being a military. At the age of 22, George Washington was given a lieutenant position. This was reached after he undertook a 900-mile journey to deliver a message from Dinwiddie who was the leader of the British at that time. He delivered the message that was demanding the French to leave the area. The whole journey was through snow, however, he did not suffer any illness. When he was awarded the lieutenant position, he was also given 150 men to assert his authority in Virginia. This is the point where his military career began. As he pushed the French away, in the first serious war his men killed 10 French soldiers including their commander. This gave him more confidence as military personnel (Amy 46). Washington then retreated to Fort Necessity hence the French surrounded him and he was forced to surrender. This sparked the Indian French war. George Washington was again given a chance to be a commander of the entire military force in Virginia. Although it was a difficult task to lead the whole force of Virginia, it provided him with enough experience on how he could lead his own force. He decided to resign so that he can take care of his family and the plantations that were left to him by his brother Lawrence. He returned to Mount Vernon as his duty had been faithfully performed.
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George was annoyed by the British Proclamation Act which was implemented in 1763 and he also did not support the Stamp Act of 1765. The letters that he wrote at this time indicated that he was opposing the colonies from affirming independence. In 1767, he was not opposed when he opposed to fighting what according to him was a violation by the Crown of the rights of Englishmen. He gave a way forward to the House of Burgesses in 1769 when he called for the refuse of British goods and their services until the acts that he thought were violations were revoked. He was nominated as one of the delegate to serve in the First Continental Congress which was in March 1775. He was appointed the commander-in-chief and the major general when the dispute between North America and Great Britain turned into war.
George Washington main strategy was to capture all the colonial prone regions. These were the cities that British used to strategize all the moves and activities against the Americans. Additionally, he avoided rebellion with the Britons at the key political and economic centers. This would reduce both political and economic activities by the Britons. The first city that he attacked was Philadelphia. The British tried to protect the city from the soldiers of Washington but after two weeks, they gave in and moved to other bases. Philadelphia was the first colonial city to be captured by soldiers belonging to Washington. George Washington again made a remarkable move to capture the army British Army who was sent to capture New York from the Americans. Fortunately, the army men were trapped by the American soldiers and they had to surrender (Franklin 323). The Command surrendered together with his 6200 troops. This marked a vital turning point for George Washington together with his people. George Washington together with his fellow Americans could now believe that they can achieve they’re objected of being liberated from the brutal hands of the whites. This lead to a revolution where all the American citizens participated in the war.
Washington was called again for a responsibility in 1787. From independence, the United States had been stressed under a government structure that mainly gave more power to the states and not the national government. The states were however not united. The states always fought over borders and they did not want to pay or contribute to the war that the nation underwent. In 1786, the Congress approved an agreement to amend the Articles of Confederation (Stevenson 13). At the Constitution Convention, George Washington was appointed as president of the United States. The Congress came to a conclusion that it was not only the changes were necessary but they needed a different constitution that gave the national management more power.
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There are those that did not want him as the president and they formed the opposition. At the time that he was president, the opposition was constituted with figures such as Sam Adams and Patrick Henry who were condemning the proposed governance structure. During the presidential election that was conducted in 1789, he received votes and he made history to be the only president who had been elected through anonymous approval. He became the first president of the United States in 1789.
During the reign of George Washington as the President of the United States of America, he carefully attended to his duties and responsibilities. One of the remarkable decision was to reject $25000 salary because was already wealthy. However, the Congress persuaded him to take the salary as a way of showing the American citizens that to be a president it is not a must to be wealthy. His first major task was to deal with the economy of the country. He reduced the national debt and formulated measure that will make the country to have a strong currency. From that point, the strength of USA currency began competing with the other top currencies in the world. Through the use of treasury secretary, he fought for a stout national government comprising of the economy that is built on basis of the industry. George built the economy based on farming. This strategy increased the economy of the country
George Washington was a leader who believed that people should debate the process improving the country. He despised leaders who administered their roles in a partisan way. He strongly believed that everyone should be objective in his or her actions rather than being loyal to the party that they belong to (Washington, 44). Therefore, he was a leader who agitated for everyone to be neutral in the process of delivering services to the citizens and decision making. Additionally, he worked hard to achieve fairness and integrity among leaders of America. It determined how the future presidents will govern the country. He formulated and laid down good structures that ensured continuity of the country and the whole government. The policies and principles that he laid down have assisted the country in becoming one of the countries that the value of integrity is upheld. During his tenure, he was criticized for using the public resources in a wrong way (Abbot 1). He used public funds to rent best houses that were available at that time. Consequently, he was driven by a coach that was pulled by four horses as other Americans were suffering.
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Legacy and retirement
Washington did not serve a third term as he thought his physical powers and age needed him to rest. Being the first president chosen by the people, he decided to create a peaceful change of the government. John Adams in took the responsibilities of a president in 1797. Washington went back to Virginia where he lived his last days as a farmer. He had handed over the government in capable hands when he left. He spent time with his family and at his farm after leaving the government and passed on December 14, 1799. President Washington finished his two terms and retired in 1797 as he handed over the responsibilities to John Adams. He went back to Mount Vernon so that he can live his life as a simple farmer the way he used to do. George Washington died in 1799 after a very short illness. The British act of 1763 which prohibited settlement of people beyond the Alleghenies. This irritated him as he moved with speed to oppose and stop the use of that act. This was the situation that brought the fallout between George Washington and Briton. It was now the time to fight them so that Americans can be liberated. The training and experience he had acquired from the British position place him in a pole position of leading the native against the brutal rule of Britons. His resilience nature and charismatic attitude towards his military expeditions placed him as a leader of American military force which was fighting against the Britons (Washington, 44). One of the earliest battles that he defeated the British was the Battle of Trenton in 1776 and the Battle of New York. After defeated the British, in New York, they reorganized themselves and came back again. This time they subdued Washington soldiers. About 2800 soldiers surrendered and they were captured. The war made, Washington to think about his strategies to fight the Britons. On the Christmas night, he leads his troops across Delaware River and attacked people believed to be Britons. At this stage, he had now rallied his troops and all the Native Americans to fight for their independence. The death of one thousand soldiers during the revolution
The greatest setback threat suffered by Washington was when one thousand soldiers died during the revolution period. He quickly increased the number of military men and he attacked the British who were now confined in New York City. This led to the independence of the country that was delivered to Americans under the leadership of George Washington. In 1789 George Washington was unanimously elected as the first president of the independent United States of America. He is the only president that has ever been elected unanimously by the Electoral College.
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- Washington, George, et al. The Papers of George Washington. Vol. 4. University Press of Virginia, 1983. Page 44
- Franklin, John Hope, and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. From slavery to freedom. New York: Knopf, 1956. Pg. 323-384
- Longmore, Paul K. The Invention of George Washington. University of Virginia Press, 1999. Pg 4
- Abbot W. W. A Short Biography of George Washington. What So profound We hail, Retrieved from https://www.whatsoproudlywehail.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/A-Short-Biography-of-George-Washington.pdf?x65350
- Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass. The Meaning of George Washington’s Birthday, The American Calendar. What So Proudly We Hail 2013.