By Tim Lambert
George Washington is famous for the part he played in the American War of Independence as well as for being the first president of the USA. George was born on 22 February 1732 in Virginia. His father Augustine was a plantation owner. His mother was called Mary. George’s father died in 1743 and his brother Lawrence died in 1752. George then inherited the estate.
Meanwhile, Washington became a surveyor. In 1748 he traveled with an expedition to survey the western part of Virginia. In 1749 George was made surveyor for Culpeper County.
In 1752 the Governor of Virginia made George a militia adjutant. In 1753 the French were encroaching on lands claimed by Britain. In October 1753 the governor of Virginia sent Washington to give the French a message telling them to withdraw from the Ohio Valley. The French refused. Then in 1754 Washington was sent at the head of a force to protect an expedition that was going to build a fort on the Ohio River. However, before Washington arrived the French reached the area and began building a fort. In May 1754 Washington and his men fired on a French force, killing 10 of them. The French counterattacked in July and they captured Washington.
However, he was soon released but Britain and her North American colonies became involved in a war – The French and Indian War. In 1755 he accompanied General Edward Braddock on an expedition against the French. They were defeated at the Battle of Monongahela in July 1755 and Braddock was fatally wounded. Afterward, Washington was made a colonel and put in command of all forces in Virginia. He resigned his commission on 31 December 1758.
On 6 January 1759, George Washington married a wealthy widow named Martha Dandridge Custis. George prospered. Martha had two children from a previous marriage but she did not have any children with George. Meanwhile, George became a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1758. In 1775 he attended the Second Continental Congress. On 15 June he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental forces. n
Washington was defeated at the battle of Long Island in August 1777, after which the British occupied New York. However, he defeated the Hessians at Trenton in December 1776. He also defeated the British at Princeton in January 1777. However, he was defeated at Brandywine in September 1777 and at Germantown in October. However, the Americans won victories at Saratoga in October in October 1771 and at Yorktown in 1781. The war was ended by the Treaty of Paris in September 1783. Washington resigned his commission shortly afterward.
George Washington then returned to managing his estates. Meanwhile, in 1777 the Articles of Confederation were drawn up which joined the states into a loose federation. They were ratified in 1781.
However, the arrangement proved unsatisfactory. In 1787 each state sent delegates to a convention in Philadelphia to remedy this. Washington was a delegate for Virginia and he was chosen as the president of the convention. The new constitution was ratified in 1788 and Washington was unanimously elected president of the USA by the electoral college on 4 February 1789. He took his oath of office on 30 April 1789. He was re-elected in 1792. However, Washington was unwilling to serve a 3rd term as president. Instead, he handed power to John Adams, the second president in March 1797.
Washington then retired to his plantations. George Washington died on 14 December 1799. He is buried in Mount Vernon.