George Washington

George Washington

George Washington was born in Bridges Creek, Westmoreland County, on 22nd February, 1732. After the death of his father, Augustine Washington, George went the live with his eldest half-brother, Lawrence.

Washington became a land surveying and in 1748 he found work with Lord Fairfax. After the death of Lawrence in 1752 Washington inherited the Mount Vernon estate. He also joined the local militia where he was involved in trying to keep the French out of the Ohio Valley. Washington was a highly successful soldier and by 1754 had been promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

In 1759 Washington married a rich young widow, Martha Custis. Washington now became one of the richest men in the country. This gave him the time to become involved in politics and was elected to the Virginia house of burgesses. He was also a member of the First and Second Continental Congresses in 1774 and 1775.

On 15th June, 1775, Washington was chosen as the Commander-in-Chief of the colonial army. Under his leadership the Americans were able to force the British Army out of Boston. He also inflicted defeats on the British at Trenton and Princeton. France entered the war on the American side in 1778 and Washington's army achieved the defeat and surrender of General Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown in 1781 which virtually brought an end to the American War of Independence.

Washington resigned his commission on 23rd December, 1783 and retired to his estate at Mount Vernon. He continued to be involved in politics and in 1787 presided over the convention of delegates from 12 states which formulated the American constitution. Washington was unanimously elected as the first President of the United States and was inaugurated on 30th April, 1789, in New York City. In government Washington worked closely with Thomas Jefferson (Secretary of State) and Alexander Hamilton (Treasury Secretary).

Washington was unanimously reelected in 1792 but by this time the government was not so united and there were serious disagreements between Jefferson's Democratic Republicans and Hamilton's Federalists. Washington tended to favour the Federalists and with the Democratic Republicans gaining increasing support, he decided not to seek a third term and retired from office on 3rd March, 1797.

George Washington was appointed as commander of the United States Army and served in this post until his death on 14th December, 1799.

© , September 1997 - April 2014