George Washington – Biography & Presidency

Who was George Washington? He was the first president of America. How did he rise to occupy such a position in this great nation? The article below contains everything that you need to know about George Washington. It includes important facts about his birth, childhood, early military career, family, and his role in the American Revolution.

George Washington

George Washington served as the first president of the United States.

Americans clashed with the British during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). George Washington was the chief commander of the US forces (Continental Army). He ensured that America won the war. After the war was over, Washington went on to serve as the first president of America. Being a great leader, he was re-elected for a second term. His presidency ran from 1789-1797. It was important for George Washington to leave a great legacy as the first president of an important country such as the U.S.A.

Certainly, the first man of the powerful nation was an outstanding statesman. America has had about 45 presidents since George Washington. None of them has outshone Washington’s legacies. You might also want to remind yourself that Washington was the president of the convention that wrote the US Constitution; he was undoubtedly a phenomenal Founding Father.

Related Post: Who were the Founding Fathers of the United States?

Birth and Early Years

He was born on 22nd February 1732. George Washington’s birthplace will shock you. He was born at a plantation owned by his family in Pope’s Creek, Westmoreland County. His parents were Augustine Washington (father) and Mary Washington (mother). Washington was the eldest son of his parents’ six children. The future first president spent most of his childhood years on his parents’ large farm.

Chances are that after Washington’s father’s death when he was still 11, he helped his mother to manage the farm. History does not deny that Washington had slaves; he inherited some of them from his rich family members. The slaves numbered up to 300 people at the time Washington passed away. Realizing that slavery wasn’t a good thing, he wrote a will that ordered that all his slaves should be released from bondage after the death of his wife.

The former president made his solo trip abroad in 1751. He visited Barbados with his sick brother Lawrence. Their hope was that the temperate climates in Barbados would speed up recovery for his brother who was at that time suffering from tuberculosis. On arrival, it didn’t take long for Washington to contract variola (smallpox).

Even though Washington survived his smallpox, Lawrence died in 1752.  Washington inherited his brother’s estates in Virginia – the Mount Vernon. He stated that his brother had influenced him greatly; he was his mentor.

Education and First Career

Research shows that children from rich families were largely home-schooled. They mostly attend private schools; some even get taught by private teachers. George Washington’s case was no exception. Many people believe that by the age of 15, Washington had finished his formal schooling. Other sources say Washington got formal education from the Anglican Fredericksburg School.

After his education, Washington went on to become renowned in surveying. He got a license in surveying from the William & Mary College. His technical job in Virginia made him enough money to buy land for himself.

Early Military Career

In the year 1752, Washington was given a commanding position in a Virginian militia. This was just by honor. Washington did not have any previous experience in the military. As the commander, he took charge of all the militia’s forces. His men fought gallantly in many wars against Native Americans and the French during the French-Indian War.

He resigned from the militia in 1759 and went back to Mount Vernon. After winning an election, George Washington went on to become a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. He served there till 1774.

Washington married Martha Dandridge (a rich widow who already had 2 children). He and Martha never brought forth their own children. This meant Washington had no children of his own.

Farming Venture

The following years saw Washington busily expanding his agricultural territory. He enlarged Mount Vernon into an 8000-acre estate. That is an expansion factor of four; he started from 2000 acres. His property had 5 farms with different species of crops – corn, wheat, fruit orchards, and bred mules. He also had a fishery. At that stage, Washington’s interest in farming was very high. He constantly explored new crops to grow.

Role in the American Revolution

George Washington

George Washington became an American hero after securing victory over the British.

Towards the end of 1760, the imposition of hefty taxes by the British on Americans had adversely affected the citizens. George Washington had felt the heavy taxes himself. Colonists believed it was time for England to leave America alone.

In 1774, Washington was part of the delegates of the First Continental Congress that took place in Philadelphia. The American Revolution set in before the Second Congress meeting could be convened.  Washington took the lead role as chief commander of the US Continental Army.

He showed rare skills in uniting his poorly trained army to fight with extraordinary strength. The war lasted 8 years but victory went to Washington and his Continental Army. Washington was named a great hero afterward.

Washington’s Rise to the Presidency

George Washington

Washington was inaugurated as the President of the US at the age of 57 years old.

After a peace treaty was signed between the US and Britain, Washington concluded that his job was done. He left his army role to continue with his farming. In 1787, he got an invitation to constitute the team that would draft the US Constitution. His intelligent ideas convinced his fellow delegates that no other person was fit for the position of the first president of the US than George Washington.

After initial plans to refuse the presidential race, Washington reconsidered his decisions and stood for the presidency. He won the 1789 presidential election. The runner-up was John Adams; he was chosen as Vice President.

Washington was 57 years when he was inaugurated as the first president on April 30, 1789, at the Federal Hall on Wall Street, New York. His permanent office was also in New York. Washington D.C (the current US capital, named after him) wasn’t yet constructed.


After fighting and serving his country for more than four decades, Washington declined when he was asked to go for his third term. He retired to Mount Vernon, Virginia, to continue with his farming. He encouraged successive American leaders to minimize foreign involvement.

How did George Washington Die?

Washington caught a cold on his farm when he went to inspect his properties while it rained. The cold later affected his throat. He died on the night of 14th December 1799, at the age of 67.

Famous George Washington Quotes

George Washington quotes

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