George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Here he received little formal education. Historians have speculated that he attended a school in Fredericksburg, or may have been tutored by an indentured servant. Washington lived with his mother until the age of 16.

At the age of 15, Washington took a job as an assistant land surveyor. In 1748, he joined a surveying team that was sent to the Shanandoah Valley to help survey the land holdings of Lord Fairfax. By 1749, he established a good reputation as a land surveyor and was appointed to the official land surveyor of Culpeper County.

Washington’s father owned several farms. When his father died in 1743, his stepbrother Lawrence received the Mount Vernon Estate. Lawrence Washington died nine years later. His will stated that if his daughter, Sarah, died without baring children the Mount Vernon Estate would go to George Washington. Sarah Washington died two years later without baring children. Washington began his military career on February 1,1753, when he was sworn into the Virginia militia. He started as an adjutant for the southern part of the colony. Next, he set out to Fort Le Beouf on Lake Erie. He sent a message stating for the French to leave the land alone. The French denied his message. Four months later, they promoted him to lieutenant colonel. After defeating some French scouting party in southern Pennsylvania, they promoted him to colonel in charge of all the Virginian troops. Colonel Washington led an attack at Fort Necessity, Pennsylvania, where he and 400 troops surrendered to the French and Indians. In October Washington resigned as colonel and returned to Mount Vernon. Governor Dinwidde begged and pleaded for his return. He denied at first, but decided to regain control. Washington remained colonel for the rest of the war.

After the French and Indian War Washington again stepped down. He retired to Mount Vernon as a planter and a legislator. On January 6,1759, he married Martha Dandridge Custis. She was a wealthy widow and mother of two children. The couple had no children together, but he raised those of his wife as his own. During 1759-74, he managed his plantations and sat in the Virginia House of Burgesses.

By the 1770s, the relationship between Britain and the colonies became strained. Washington represented Virginia at the First and Second Continental Congresses. When Patrick Henry was asked to name the greatest man in congress, he replied: “ if you speak of solid information and sound judgement, Colonel Washington is unquestionably the greatest man on the floor.” In May of 1775, just after Lexington and Concord, Washington showed up to the Second Continental Congress wearing his colonel’s uniform. This act magnified his belief on taking military action against the British. On June 15, the delegates unanimously elected him as commander and chief of the armed forces. He accepted modestly.

By July 3, 1775, he had taken command of the troops at Cambridge. His first victory came in March of 1776, when the British evacuated Boston. He kept them surrounded for eight months. The evacuation proved that he could beat the British in a major battle. Washington figured that the British would strike New York next. So, Washington meets them there in force, where he suffered defeat due to lack of supplies, experienced officers, and disciplined troops. Washington’s army now totaled about 5,000 men. Many people feared that the war was lost. Washington took away that fear when he launched the attack on Hessian troops at Trenton the day after Christmas, 1776. He followed up this victory by a win at Princeton, two weeks later. Washington’s next loss came in September of 1777. He was forced to fight a battle that he knew he would lose. The British navy took over Philadelphia at the battle of Brandywine Creek. The American cause was strengthened in October, when General Gates won at Saratoga, New York. Gates captured Burgoyne and 5,000 British troops. Washington and his men spent that winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Good news came in the spring of 1778. The French decided to send money, troops, and a fleet. When the British received this news the decided to consolidate their position to New York and New Jersey. Between 1778 and 1781 Washington kept the British army concealed to New York City. During this time he faced numerous disappointments by losing the battles of Brooklyn Heights, Kip’s Bay, Harlem Heights, and White Plains.

In the summer of 1781, Washington was finally rewarded. The French decided to send the main part of their military. They also made a substantial loan to help the Americans. When it became known that Cornwall is had invaded Virginia, Washington and Recomb took their combined armies to Virginia. When they arrived, they met up Lafayette and troops from the French fleet that had sealed off the Chesapeake Bay. The greatest event of Washington’s military career came on October 19, 1781 when he defeated Cornwall is at Yorktown. Cornwall is surrendered his entire army of more than 7,000 men. The fighting was finally over, although it would still take two years to form a formal peace treaty.

Washington was now in his early fifties. After the war he resumed life as a planter confident that his days of public service were over. But, a few years had past and the inability of Congress to solve national problems because of lack of authority under the Articles of Confederation worried him. So, he became a delegate on the Virginia legislature to help mend the Constitution.

Several years followed before the states ratified the constitution. When the Electoral College met in New York City on February 4, 1789, Washington was unanimously elected the first President of the United States of America. They inaugurated him on April 30, 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City, then the capital of the United States. From the day of his inauguration, Washington began setting the traditions that were to be followed by each of his successors. In his inaugural address he appealed somewhat indirectly to Congress to amend the Constitution with a Bill of Rights. The lack of the bill prevented ratification of the Constitution by Rhode Island and North Carolina. The Bill of Rights was eventually added, and the was ratified by all states.

Washington faced four major problems by assuming the role of president. These were: organizing the new government and establishing his cabinet; pulling the nation out of serious financial problems; obtaining a better relationship with Great Britain; and negotiating treaties of friendship with the Indian tribes. Washington successfully achieved solutions to each of these problems during his administration.

Washington’s first concern was to establish and develop the executive departments. He saw the departments as a way he could govern and execute the laws. Washington created two rules at governing the seat of the department heads. The president holds the right to empower executive officers and the power to remove them if necessary. In constructing the new government, Washington and his advisors worked quickly for a great end result. Nearly five months passed before Congress approved the legislation needed to start the five executive departments. Washington choose two liberals two conservatives to form his cabinet. General Henry Knox led the war department. Alexander Hamilton was appointed Secretary of the Treasury. Thomas Jefferson was appointed Secretary of State. The office of postmaster general was led by Samuel Osgood. The cabinet was complete when Washington appointed Edmund Randolph as attorney general.

On February 13, 1793, Washington was again elected unanimously to a second term. His second term was much different than his first, mainly because he felt betrayed when Jefferson and Hamilton resigned from his cabinet. The war in Europe over the new French republic, and the Whiskey Rebellion were the toughest problems Washington faced during his second term. The last year of his administration was relatively quiet and uneventful. On September 19, 1796, Washington presented his Farewell Address. Many people made strong efforts to persuade him to a third term. Washington believed no president should serve more than two terms in office.. Washington once again set off to Mount Vernon to retire. But he did not get the peaceful retirement he planned for. In 1798, war threatened with France. President Adams asked him to accept the title of lieutenant general. Washington accepted, and helped raise the army by choosing the general and officers. Then in1789, the French crisis ended. Washington could finally relax to plantation life.

On December 16, 1799, Washington woke up with a severe throat infection. By ten p.m. all of the fight he had was gone, and he died. Four days later his body was buried in the family vault at Mount Vernon.

I read 67 years of his life and owning slaves is the only thing I do not respect about Washington. I am 19 years old and I have done more things wrong in 19 years than Washington did in 67. I read that his will emancipated slaves when he died. After reading that, I think that he was flawless.

To this day we are still debted to him for his great accomplishments. Washington, helped make us a country, he saved us in war, he helped establish our government, he helped give us the Constitution, and he led the way for the following presidents to follow. Where would we be if George Washington was never born? I can honestly say that we probably would not have the same freedoms that we hold today.

I do not know that much about other historical figures. But I can not imagine any of them doing as much as Washington. For example, the poor man tried to retire four times. Washington definitely cared more about his country than he did about himself. It is just a shame President Clinton does not feel the same way. If anyone believed in liberty and justice it was him. If I had the courage, bravery, intelligence, and wisdom that Washington had in his little finger,Iwould be a BIG MAN.

I do not think anyone could repay Washington for what he has done. But how do you repay someone for doing as much as he did? I think that Washington was a simple man. Therefor, I believe that his own self satisfaction was payment enough.

George Washington gave everyone in this country: the right to call themselves Americans; the rights to the Constitution; and the knowledge on how to lead, serve and protect our country. I would like to personally thank you Mr. Washington for giving me the freedoms I have today, Thank You.