George Washington Biography - life, family, childhood, children, story, death, mother, young, old, information, born (2022)

Born: February 22, 1732
Bridges Creek, Virginia
Died: December 14, 1799
Mount Vernon, Virginia

American president, politician, and military leader

George Washington (1732–1799) was commander in chief of the American and French forces in the American Revolution (1775–83) and became the first president of the United States.

Virginia childhood

George Washington was born at Bridges Creek (later known as Wakefield) in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732. His father died when he was eleven years old, and the boy spent the next few years living in different households throughout Virginia. He lived with his mother near Fredericksburg, with relatives in Westmoreland, and with his half brother in Mount Vernon.

Not much is known about Washington's childhood. Many American children have heard the story of how the young Washington took a hatchet and cut down a cherry tree, then admitted his deed because his honest character would not allow him to lie. This tale was probably invented by Mason Locke Weems (1759–1825), author of the biography of Washington that appeared the year after his death. At the age of fourteen Washington had planned to join the British navy but then reluctantly stayed home in obedience to his mother's wishes. By the age of sixteen he had obtained a basic education in mathematics, surveying (the process of measuring and plotting land), reading, and the usual subjects of his time. In 1749 Washington was appointed county surveyor, and his experience on the frontier led to his appointment as a major (a military officer who is above a captain) in the Virginia militia (a small military force that is not part of the regular army) in 1752.

French and Indian War

Washington began to advance in the military ranks during the French and Indian War (1754–63), the American portion of a larger conflict between France and Great Britain over control of overseas territory. In America, this conflict involved a struggle between the two countries over a portion of the Ohio River Valley. Before the war began, Virginia governor Robert Dinwiddie (1693–1770) appointed Washington to warn the French moving into the Ohio Valley against invading English territory. Dinwiddie then made Washington a lieutenant colonel (a military officer who is above a major), with orders to dislodge the French at Pennsylvania's Fort Duquesne, but a strong French force beat the Virginia troops. This conflict triggered the beginning of French and Indian War, and Great Britain dispatched regular troops in 1755 to remove the French by force.

Video: Biography of George Washington for Kids: Meet the American President - FreeSchool

Later in the year, Dinwiddie promoted Washington to colonel (a military officer who is above a lieutenant colonel) and made him commander in chief of all Virginia troops. In 1758 he accompanied British troops on the campaign that forced the French to abandon Ft. Duquesne. With the threat of violence removed, Washington married Martha Custis (1731–1802) and returned to his life at Mount Vernon.

Early political career

Washington had inherited local importance from his family. His grandfather and great-grandfather had been justices of the peace, a powerful county position in eighteenth-century Virginia. His father had served as sheriff, church warden, and justice of the peace. His half-brother Lawrence had been a representative in the Virginia legislature from Fairfax County. George Washington's entry into politics was based on an alliance with the family of Lawrence's father-in-law.

Washington was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses (an early representative assembly in Virginia) in 1758 as a representative from Frederick County. From 1760 to 1774 he served as a judge of Fairfax County. His experience on the county court and in the colonial legislature molded his views on British taxation of the thirteen American Colonies (which became the first thirteen states of the United States) after 1763. He opposed the Stamp Act (which placed a tax on printed materials) in 1765. In the 1760s he supported the nonimportation of goods (refusal to import goods) as a means of

reversing British policy. In 1774 he joined the call for a meeting of representatives who would define policies for all thirteen colonies, called the Continental Congress, that would take united colonial action against recent laws directed by the British against Massachusetts.

In July 1774 Washington led the county meeting that was held to adopt the Fairfax Resolves, which he had helped write. These resolves (resolutions) influenced the adoption of the Continental Association, a plan devised by the First Continental Congress (1774) for enforcing nonimportation of British goods. They also proposed the creation of a militia company in each county that was not under the control of a British-appointed governor. This idea became the basis of the development of the Continental Army, the united military forces of the American colonies fighting the British.

By May 1775 Washington, who headed the Fairfax militia company, had been chosen to command the companies of six other counties. When the Second Continental Congress (1775) met after the battles of Lexington and Concord (the first battles of the Revolution) in Massachusetts, Washington was elected unanimously as commander in chief of all Continental Army forces. From June 15, 1775, until December 23, 1783, he commanded the Continental Army. After the French joined the war on the American side in 1778, it was Washington who headed the combined forces of the United States and France in the War of Independence against Great Britain.

Revolutionary Years

Throughout the Revolutionary years Washington developed military leadership, administrative skills, and political sharpness. From 1775 to 1783 he functioned, in effect, as the chief executive of the United States. His wartime experiences gave him a sense of the importance of a unified position among the former colonies. His writings suggested that he favored a strong central government.

Washington returned to his estates at Mount Vernon at the end of the Revolution. There was little time for relaxation, as he was kept constantly busy with farming, western land interests, and navigation of the Potomac River. Finally, Washington led the proceedings at the Federal Convention in 1787 that led to ratification, or confirmation, of the new American constitution.

First American president

The position of president of the United States seemed shaped on the generally held belief that Washington would be the first to occupy the office. In a day when executive power was regarded with suspicion, the constitution established an energetic and independent chief executive. Pierce Butler (1744–1822), one of the Founding Fathers, noted that the Federal Convention would not have made the executive powers so great "had not many of the members cast their eyes toward General Washington as President."

After he was unanimously chosen as president in 1789, Washington helped translate the new Constitution into a workable instrument of government. With his support, the Bill of Rights (a written list of basic rights that are guaranteed to all citizens) was added to the Constitution; an energetic executive branch was established in American government; the departments of state, treasury, and war became official parts of the American president's cabinet; the federal court system was begun; and Congress's power to tax was used to raise money to pay the Revolutionary War debt and to establish American credit at home and abroad.

As chief executive, Washington consulted his cabinet on public policy. He presided over their differences, especially those between Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) and Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804). Jefferson and Hamilton represented two opposing sides of an extremely important debate during this time about the role of a strong federal government in governing the former British colonies. Hamilton advocated a strong, centralized federal government, whereas Jefferson, fearing that the executive leader would have too much power, pressed for strong states' rights. Hamilton's position is known as the Federalist position; Jefferson's is known as the anti-Federalist or, later, the Republican position (not to be confused with the present-day Republican political party).

Video: Web Originals: Ask History: George Washington and the Cherry Tree | History

Washington approved the Federalist financial program and later, the Hamiltonian proposals, such as funding of the national debt, assumption of the state debts, the establishment of a Bank of the United States, the creation of a national coinage system, and an internal tax on goods. He also presided over the expansion of the federal union from eleven states (North Carolina and Rhode Island ratified [approved] the Constitution after Washington was sworn in as president) to sixteen (Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee were admitted between 1791 and 1796). Washington's role as presidential leader was of great importance in winning support for the new government's domestic and foreign policies.

Second term

Despite his unanimous election, Washington expected that the measures of his administration would meet opposition—and they did. By the end of his first term the American political party system was developing. When he mentioned the possibility of retirement in 1792, both Hamilton and Jefferson agreed that he was "the only man in the United States who possessed the confidence of the whole" country and urged him to continue with a second term.

Washington's second term was dominated by foreign-policy considerations. Early in 1793 the French Revolution, which had overthrown the French monarchy in 1789, became the central issue in American politics. France had declared war on Great Britain and appointed Edmond Genet (1763–1834) as minister to the United States. Determined to keep America out of the war and free from European influence, Washington issued a neutrality proclamation (a statement that the United States would not take sides or become involved in the conflict), although the word "neutrality" was not used.

Despite the proclamation, Genet supplied French pirates in American ports and organized expeditions against Florida and Louisiana (which were not then part of the United States). For his undiplomatic conduct, the Washington administration requested and obtained his recall to France. In the midst of the Genet affair, Great Britain began a blockade of France and began seizing neutral ships trading with the French West Indies. Besides violating American neutral rights (the territorial rights of a neutral country), the British still held posts in the American Northwest. The Americans claimed that they plotted with the Indians against the United States.

In 1794 Washington sent John Jay (1745–1829) to negotiate a settlement of the differences between the British and the Americans. Although Jay's Treaty was vastly unpopular—the British agreed to leave the Northwest posts but made no concessions on other key issues—Washington finally accepted it. The treaty also paved the way for a new treaty with Spain, which had feared an alliance of American and British interests against Spain in the Western Hemisphere.

Washington's contributions

Nearly all observers agree that Washington's eight years as president demonstrated that executive power was completely consistent with the spirit of republican government. The term "republican" here refers to the principles of a republic, a form of government in which citizens have supreme power through elected representatives and in which there is no monarchy (hereditary king or queen). Washington put his reputation on the line in a new office under a new Constitution. He realized that in a republic the executive leader, like all other elected representatives, would have to measure his public acts against public opinion. As military commander during the Revolution, he had seen the importance of administrative skills as a means of building public support of the army. As president, he used the same skills to win support for the new federal government.

Despite Washington's dislike of fighting among political "sides," his administrations and policies spurred the beginnings of the first political party system. This ultimately identified Washington with the Federalist party, especially after Jefferson's retirement from the cabinet in 1793.

Retirement

Washington's public service did not end with his retirement from the presidency. During the presidency of John Adams (1735–1826), when America seemed on the brink of a war with France, Adams appointed him commander in chief of the American forces. Washington accepted with the understanding that he would not take field command until troops had been recruited and equipped. Since Adams settled the differences with France by diplomatic negotiations, Washington never assumed actual command. He continued to live at Mount Vernon, where he died on December 14, 1799.

At the time of Washington's death, Congress unanimously adopted a resolution to erect a marble monument in the nation's capital in honor of his great military and political accomplishments. The Washington Monument was completed in 1884.

Video: George Washington Bio

For More Information

Brookhiser, Richard. Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington. New York: Free Press, 1996.

Clark, E. Harrison. All Cloudless Glory: The Life of George Washington. Washington, DC: Regnery Publishers, 1995.

Emery, Noemie. Washington, A Biography. New York: Putnam, 1976.

Ferling, John E. Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Osborne, Mary Pope. George Washington: Leader of a New Nation. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1991.

Rosenburg, John. First in War: George Washington in the American Revolution. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1998.

FAQs

What was George Washington's family life?

Although George Washington never had any biological children, he did have a rather large family, comprised of his many siblings, step-children, and step-grandchildren.
...
George Washington's Family.
Father Augustine Washington (1694-1743)Mother Mary Ball Washington (1708-1789)
Wife Martha Washington (1731-1802)Biological Children None
3 more rows

What was George Washington's early life and family like?

Early Life and Family

The family lived on Pope's Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia. They were moderately prosperous members of Virginia's "middling class." Washington could trace his family's presence in North America to his great-grandfather, John Washington, who migrated from England to Virginia.

When was George Washington born and how was his childhood?

Childhood and Education

George Washington was born at his family's plantation on Popes Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732, to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. George's father was a leading planter in the area and served as a justice of the county court.

How was George Washington childhood?

George's childhood was modest. He lived in a six-room house crowded with beds and frequent visitors. From what evidence we have, George seems to have been happy as a child, spending much of his time outdoors. In 1743, Augustine Washington died.

When was George Washington born?

Did George Washington have kids?

Did George Washington Have Children? George Washington did not have any children. Despite that fact, there were always children at Mount Vernon. They raised Martha Washington's two children from a previous marriage, as well as her four grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

When did George Washington get married?

Martha and George Washington Were Married on January 6, 1759. As a young, attractive, wealthy widow, Martha Dandridge Custis probably enjoyed more freedom to choose her own destiny than at any other point in her life.

How did George Washington Death?

On the evening of December 14, 1799, at Mount Vernon, George Washington passed away of a throat infection. He was buried four days later in the family vault at Mount Vernon.
...
Key Facts.
Died:December 14, 1799
Cause of Death:acute bacterial epiglottitis
Final Words:"tis well"
3 more rows

What were 10 important events in George Washington's life?

George Washington - Key Events
  • April 30, 1789. Inauguration. ...
  • July 4, 1789. Congress enacts tariff. ...
  • March 26, 1790. First naturalization law. ...
  • May 29, 1790. Ratifying the Constitution. ...
  • May 31, 1790. Copyright law. ...
  • July 16, 1790. Establishing the capital. ...
  • August 4, 1790. Revolutionary War debts. ...
  • December 6, 1790. Moving the capital.

Where is George Washington?

George is a city in Grant County, Washington, United States.
...
George, Washington.
George
• Total1.38 sq mi (3.57 km2)
• Land1.38 sq mi (3.57 km2)
• Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation1,227 ft (374 m)
19 more rows

How old is George Washington now?

George Washington is turning 290, and the caretakers of his Mount Vernon, Virginia, estate are throwing a house party. Several activities to commemorate the first president's birthday will be held on Presidents Day, with an in-person celebration Monday and a virtual celebration Tuesday.

Where did Washington live?

George Washington

When and where was George Washington born?

When was George Washington dead?

Is today Washington's birthday?

In 1879, the United States made Washington's February 22nd Birthday a federal holiday.

How old is George Washington now 2022?

This Monday, February 21st beginning at 1pm in Old Town, thousands will come from across the region to help celebrate George Washington's 290th birthday.

What is George Washington's full name?

George Washington did not have a middle name.

What is George Washington best known for?

What is George Washington known for? George Washington is often called the “Father of His Country.” He not only served as the first president of the United States, but he also commanded the Continental Army during the American Revolution (1775–83) and presided over the convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution.

Who was the best president?

Abraham Lincoln has taken the highest ranking in each survey and George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt have always ranked in the top five while James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Franklin Pierce have been ranked at the bottom of all four surveys.

How did George Washington talk?

Fisher Ames, a representative in the United States Congress, said Washington's voice was “deep, a little tremulous, and so low as to call for close attention.” Other contemporaries of Washington described his tone as dispassionate, which Paul K.

Who was the 2nd president?

John Adams, a remarkable political philosopher, served as the second President of the United States (1797-1801), after serving as the first Vice President under President George Washington. Learned and thoughtful, John Adams was more remarkable as a political philosopher than as a politician.

How do you draw George Washington cartoon?

How to Draw George Washington! - YouTube

What did George Washington invent?

He is best remembered for his invention of an early instant coffee process and for the company he founded to mass-produce it, the G. Washington Coffee Company.
...
George Washington (inventor)
George C. L. Washington
Known forG. Washington Coffee Company
ChildrenGeorge Washington, Jr.
3 more rows

What president's birthday is February 23?

George Washington spent the first three years of his life at Popes Creek, and after the death of his father, would return to visit his older half brother, Augustine, Junior.

Did George Washington have a dog?

Records show that he owned French hounds Tipsy, Mopsey, Truelove, and Ragman - just to name a few. Greyhounds, Newfoundlands, Briards, and various types of spaniels, terriers, and toys also called the estate home. And they too probably had awesome names.

What did George Washington wear?

This blue wool coat is part of a suit of regimentals made for George Washington in 1789. It has a buff wool rise-and-fall collar, buff cuffs and lapels, and buff lining; there is a row of yellow metal buttons on each lapel, as well as on each cuff. The waistcoat and breeches are matching buff wool, with gilt buttons.

Videos

1. The Life of George Washington (feat. Lin-Manuel Miranda & Winona Ryder) - Drunk History
(Comedy Central)
2. George Washington Carver for Kids | Learn all about his incredible life and story
(Learn Bright)
3. George Washington Carver "The Plant Doctor" Revolutionized Farming Industry | Biography
(Biography)
4. George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life
(Iowa PBS)
5. George Washington - First U.S. President | Mini Bio | BIO
(Biography)

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Ms. Lucile Johns

Last Updated: 06/19/2022

Views: 6141

Rating: 4 / 5 (41 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ms. Lucile Johns

Birthday: 1999-11-16

Address: Suite 237 56046 Walsh Coves, West Enid, VT 46557

Phone: +59115435987187

Job: Education Supervisor

Hobby: Genealogy, Stone skipping, Skydiving, Nordic skating, Couponing, Coloring, Gardening

Introduction: My name is Ms. Lucile Johns, I am a successful, friendly, friendly, homely, adventurous, handsome, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.