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  • George Washington - 1732 to 1799

  • George Washington was born on February 22nd, 1732

  • in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and to a family of prosperous farmers

  • He began his career as a professional surveyor in 1749 at the age of 17,

  • and was quickly appointed surveyor of Culpepper County, Virginia; his first public office.

  • In 1752 he joined the colonial militia.

  • Washington became involved in the beginning of the French and Indian War--

  • also known in Europe as the Seven Years' War--

  • and gained a reputation for his bravery.

  • After the war, he returned to farming at Mount Vernon,

  • which was a plantation that he inherited,

  • and in 1759 married Martha Custis, a wealthy widow.

  • Washington entered the Virginia House of Burgesses

  • where he opposed what he saw as unfair British taxes.

  • By 1774 he was one of the leading Virginian figures

  • supporting the colonial cause, and was sent by Virginia

  • to both the First and Second Continental Congress in 1774 and 1775.

  • By June of 1775 Washington had become commander of all colonial forces

  • in the American War of Independence.

  • He formed the Continental Army and planned how they would be fed, clothed, and equipped.

  • After limited success against the British,

  • an American victory at Saratoga in October 1777

  • persuaded the French to agree to an alliance with the Americans.

  • With this French military and naval assistance,

  • the tide began to turn in the American favor.

  • On October 19th, 1781, the British Army surrendered at Yorktown.

  • In 1787 Washington was elected president of the Constitutional Convention,

  • and used his influence to persuade the states to ratify the resulting constitution.

  • In 1789, George Washington was elected the first President of the United States

  • There was a huge challenge in bringing the individual States together

  • to establish a new nation and creating a government.

  • He was also concerned by the emergence of political parties:

  • the Federalists and the Democratic Republicans,

  • led by his two closest advisors,

  • Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, respectively.

  • Washington wanted to retire after his first term,

  • but was re-elected for a second term in 1792.

  • He maintained American neutrality when war broke out between Britain and France in 1793,

  • and also normalized diplomatic relations with Britain.

  • Washington finally retired from public life in 1797,

  • and died at Mount Vernon on December 14th, 1799.

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George Washington - 1732 to 1799

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