George Washington Essay

1520 words - 6 pages

George Washington was the first president of the United States. He held office from 1789 through 1797 and is one of the most important leaders in United States history. His role in gaining independence for the American colonies and later in tying them under the new U.S. federal government can't be over estimated. He never ceased to work for the Union of the states under a strong central government. He was a leading influence in persuading the states to participate in the Constitutional Convention, over which he presided, and he used his prestige to help gain ratification of the Constitution of the United States. George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732. He was the eldest son of a Virginia farmer, Augustine Washington, by his second wife, Mary Ball. The Washington family was descended from two brothers, John and Lawrence Washington. The family's rise to modest wealth was the result of steady application to farming, land buying, and development of local industries. George seems to have received most of his schooling from his father. He applied his mathematical abilities to acquiring knowledge of surveying, which was a skill in demand in a country where people were seeking new lands in the west. His first real adventure as a boy was accompanying a surveying party to the Shenandoah Valley of Northern Virginia. When his was seventeen he was appointed surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia, which was the first public office he held. In 1751, George had his first and only experience of foreign lands when he accompanied his half brother Lawrence to the island of Barbados. Lawrence was very ill with tuberculosis and thought that the climate might help, but the trip did him little good. Moreover, George was stricken with smallpox. Fortunately, this experience gave him immunity to the disease, which was later to plague the colonial troops during the American Revolution. George's brother Lawrence died in 1752. According to the terms of his will, George acquired the estate of Mount Vernon. Lawrence, who was now deceased, had held the post of adjutant in the colonial militia. This was a full-time salaried appointment, carrying the rank of major, and involved the inspection, mustering, and regulation of various militia companies. Washington seems to have been confident he could make an efficient adjutant at the age of 20, even though he was then without military experience. In November 1752 Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed him adjutant of the southern district of Virginia. During the following summer, Virginia was alarmed by reports that a French expedition from Canada was establishing post on the Ohio River and seeking to make treaties with the Native Americans. Governor Dinwiddie received orders from Britain to demand an immediate French withdrawal, and Major Washington promptly volunteered to carry the governor's message. Upon returning, Washington reached Williamsburg, the...

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