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George Washington

— 1st President of the United States —

View full portraits at:
National Portrait Gallery or the White House Presidential Portrait Gallery

ELECTED FROM: Virginia
POLITICAL PARTY:
Federalist
TERM:
April 30, 1789 to March 3, 1797

BORN: February 22, 1732
BIRTHPLACE:
Pope's Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia
DIED:
December 14, 1799, Mount Vernon, Virginia
OCCUPATION:
Planter, soldier
MARRIED:
Martha Dandridge Custis, 1759
CHILDREN:
Stepchildren - Jacky, Patsy
Adopted children - Nelly and George Washington Park Custis

George Washington was born on a farm in Virginia in the winter of 1732. The farm was on land his grandfather had settled after emigrating from England. He was interested in school, and he especially liked arithmetic, so he was able to use his math abilities to become a surveyor. He later joined the British army and served under General Braddock in the French and Indian War. Soon after, at age 27, he married a widow, Martha Custis, and moved to her home, Mount Vernon, in Virginia.

His life as a farmer at Mount Vernon was a struggle because of the taxes and regulations imposed by the British. Washington was chosen to represent Virginia in the Continental Congress. This congress decided he was the right man to lead the colonial forces after the Declaration of Independence brought about the War of Independence from England, called the Revolutionary War. As Commander in Chief, he was often criticized for being timid and conservative. During this time, Washington demonstrated his great leadership abilities. On a cold Christmas night in 1776, he led his troops across the Delaware River into New Jersey, where they surprised the British and defeated them soundly. Those troops, with Washington as their leader, went on to win the war.

In 1787, Washington called for representatives of all the states to meet in a convention where they would write a constitution for the newly independent colonies. The purpose of this constitution was to ensure that a binding contract between all the states could be created in order to keep the country strong by making the states stick together as one nation. The result was the Constitution of the United States of America.

On April 30, 1789, the federal government was sanctioned by the Constitution, and George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America. President Washington was 57 on the day he became president. The first thing he did as president was appoint his cabinet. Two of these cabinet members were famous Americans Thomas Jefferson was the first Secretary of State, and Alexander Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury. The federal judiciary system and the office of Attorney General were also created during his term. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vermont were given statehood, and the District of Columbia was established while George Washington was president.

One of the most important events that took place while Washington was president was that 10 amendments were added to the Constitution. These 10 amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.

President George Washington died at age 67 on December 14, 1799.


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