George Washington (1789-1797)

George Washington (February 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799) was the first President of the United States, after leading the Continental Army to victory over the Kingdom of Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783).

George WashingtonWashington was chosen to be the commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces in 1775. The following year, he forced the British out of Boston, but was defeated when he lost New York City later that year. He revived the patriot cause, however, by crossing the Delaware River in New Jersey and defeating the surprised enemy units. As a result of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured the two main British combat armies - Saratoga and Yorktown. Negotiating with Congress, the colonial states, and French allies, he held together a tenuous army and a fragile nation amid the threats of disintegration and failure. Following the end of the war in 1783, Washington retired to his plantation on Mount Vernon.

Alarmed in the late 1780s at the many weaknesses of the new nation under the Articles of Confederation, he presided over the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787. Washington became President of the United States in 1789 and established many of the customs and usages of the new government's executive department. He sought to create a great nation capable of surviving in a world torn asunder by war between Britain and France. His Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793 provided a basis for avoiding any involvement in foreign conflicts. He supported plans to build a strong central government by funding the national debt, implementing an effective tax system, and creating a national bank. Washington avoided the temptation of war and began a decade of peace with Britain via the Jay Treaty in 1795; he used his prestige to get it ratified over intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never officially joining the Federalist Party, he supported its programs and was its inspirational leader. Washington's farewell address was a primer on republican virtue and a stern warning against involvement in foreign wars.ยน

Quotes

"I am embarked on a wide ocean, boundless in its prospect and from whence, perhaps, no safe harbor is to be found."

"Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company."

"Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all."

"I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an Honest Man."

"I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent."

Noteworthy Sites

¹ George Washington - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Books on George Washington
Biography of George Washington
Mt. Vernon Estate and Gardens
Rediscovering George Washington - PBS

 


 
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