George Washington

George Washington Biography
John Trumbull [Public domain]

George Washington Biography

George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 1799) national hero of the United States of America. Son of a prosperous planter belonging to the colonial aristocracy, Agustine Washington, and his mother Mary Ball Washington, heiress of a substantial amount of land in Virginia, Mary was an ambitious and calculating woman.

George was born on his family’s plantation at Pope’s Creek in the county of Westmoreland, the British colony of Virginia. George, the eldest of the six children, spent much of his childhood at Ferry Farm, a plantation near Fredericksburg, Virginia. After his father died when he was 11 years old, the young man slowly began to take over the management of the plantation, this event may have been the reason why George turned his eyes on the topography and became one of the wealthiest landowners in the world.

In his teens, Washington had shown the great ability for mathematics, so later became a successful surveyor. He was a man of curious spirit and was fascinated to realize, along with his brother, reconnaissance expeditions in the desert of Virginia that provided him with enough money to begin to obtain important tracts of land. In addition, in 1751 Washington made his only trip out of America, traveling to Barbados with his older half-brother Lawrence. Shortly after his arrival, George contracted smallpox, fortunately, he survived, although the disease produced permanent facial scars.

In 1760 the situation of the thirteen colonies of North America was unstable and tense since the King of England George III ordered economic and commercial measures that affected them negatively, for example: the law of sugar, law of stamp and law of stamps, this event led Washington to participate actively in the politics of Virginia, leading in its Assembly the opposition against the authoritarianism of the British and the new taxes established.

“Freedom, when it begins to take root, is a fast-growing plant.” George Washington

His strong political activity resulted in his role as leader of the independence, George Washington attended as representative of his colony in the First Continental Congress that took place in Philadelphia in 1776 in order to defend the unitary position against the metropolis and supplant the useless articles of the Confederation by an effective constitution of republican, presidential and federal court, that will invigorate the central power and the cohesion between the thirteen colonies.

Washington managed to get the Constitution approved by the reluctant colonies, coming into force years later, in 1789. In this sense, the Second Congress elected him by agreement commander-in-chief of the army that had to establish the colonies to fight for their independence. This task was not easy, so there were endless problems and difficulties to achieve the independence of the thirteen colonies. The first of them: there was no endorsement of a unitary political leadership or a marked spirit of sacrifice by the settlers. Second, there was a kind of military inferiority, so the strategy was to safeguard their troops from large gatherings in the open. Finally, his troops were ill-prepared and there was a shortage of food, supplies and another rationing.

Throughout the grueling eight-year war, the independence forces won few battles but retained their own ideological bastion against the British. His strength lay not in his temperament on the battlefield, but in his ability to conserve the efforts of the colonial army. Over time Washington managed to confront them with guarantees and practiced a guerrilla struggle during a large part of the War of Independence. His time arrived in 1778 when France and Spain facilitated their military support to the American revolution, which allowed to give a decisive blow in the battle of Yorktown (1781). Great Britain recognized the independence of its thirteen North American colonies through the Peace of Versailles of 1783.

On April 30, 1789, in the Continental Congress unanimously elected Washington as president of the United States, a small nation, consisting of 11 States and approximately 4 million people. Being the first president of the nation acted on the idea that his actions would determine the political designs of his country in the future, Washington worked to give an example of prudence, justice, and integrity. The country was divided into two ideological currents that sought to run the nascent country: the Federalists represented by Alexander Hamilton and the Republicans by Thomas Jefferson, the first president leaned more for the federalist current.

“Partner with quality men if you estimate your own reputation; it is better to be alone than badly accompanied.” George Washington

George Washington contained great importance in the political history of the United States because during his two terms (1789-1797) he practiced the liberal-democratic political model outlined in the Constitution, surrounded the president’s role with solemnity and power, induced the development program capitalist economic of his secretary of the Treasury, command the colonization of Indian territories to the west and laid the foundations of an isolationist foreign policy.

In 1793, he founded the new federal capital, named Washington in his honor. He voluntarily resigned from being elected to a third term because he considered that perpetuation in power would be detrimental to the constitutional regime of liberties; thus establishing a political culture. His importance was such that in 1960 he was designated a national historic landmark, he is known as the “Father of his country” hundreds of schools are named after him and today each February in the US Senate his speeches are read to commemorate his birthday.

On December 14, 1799, less than three years after leaving office, because of a cold after inspecting his property in the rain, he acquired a throat infection that caused his death at 67 years, he was buried in Mount Vernon. At the time of his death, George Washington held about 300 slaves. However, before his death, he had opposed slavery, in his will he ordered that his slaves be released after the death of his wife.

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