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Many know George Washington was the first President of the United States of America. Some may have also heard of Washington’s lesser known accomplishments such as: constructing the White House, establishing the U.S. Navy, or leading the U.S. to victory over a land battle.
But what was his childhood like? What inspired him to be something that no one else has ever been? What exactly made him different from you and me? What was his life like after his presidency? How was he such a great president with no example to follow?
George Washington was born on February 22nd, 1732 at Bridges Creek. (Which is now known as Wakefield) , Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732. He had three brothers and two sisters, (one passed away while an infant) , three half brothers (one died while as a baby) and one half sister that died at age thirteen. His father died when he was eleven years old, and the boy spent the next few years living in different households throughout Virginia. His parents names were Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. Both wee planters (farmers) and were not wealthy. His father owned slaves and was a tobacco farmer as well as local sheriff, but had a middle-ranking compared to other planter families.
At the age of three his family moved to Ferry Farm, Virginia. Washington was primarily homeschooled, but did attend a local parochial school for a short term. When Washington was just eleven years old, his father unexpectedly died in 1743 at the age of 49 from an attack which largely impacted young George’s life. Washington’s mother never remarried.
Like many other boys, George was expecting to get sent away and continue his education abroad in England like his two older step brothers. But instead the will his father left mainly benefited his two step brothers where they received a majority of the estates and money because they were older and knew how to run the properties and such. Growing up, his male role model who practically raised him was his older half brother Lawrence Washington. His brother Lawrence later died in 1752.
Many assume that George would have gone abroad to continue his education if his father never passed so suddenly, but with that, he still acquired a basic education of math, reading, and writing. The rest of his education and knowledge was obtained from one of his older step brothers and his wife and men of power.
After George wasn’t able to go to prep school abroad, he decided to become a surveyor. George taught himself how to use surveying tools and as a result, he had an inside hand of getting the to survey land for the wealthy due to his step brothers marriage Colonel William Fairfax’s daughter. (One of the most powerful landowners in Virginia). George began surveying at the age of 16 in Virginia’s western territory and so on. These trips made him resourceful and enabled him to come to conclusions that the country’s future nation lay in colonizing the west. After his older step brother passed, George took the rank as major in the military as the men thought he wasn’t capable of being a great leader.
But after various victories in battle, George earned his fair share and quickly ranked up. When the Revolutionary war was done and dealt with, the Country needed a strong leader who could bring the states together. In 1786 congress approved a convention in Philadelphia to amend the Articles of Confederation George Washington was unanimously named President over candidates including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. He was commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War before becoming our nation’s first President and was the first to sign our Constitution
George Washington was the first person elected President of the United States and held the position from 1789 to 1797. On April 30th, 1789, Washington took the first presidential oath of office at Federal Hall in New York City. He was 57 years old He served two terms and declined a third which set the tradition that the President should only serve two terms. His mother, Mary Ball Washington, got to see her son become president when she was 81 years old.
Many of George Washington’s ideas are still used to run our country to this day such as a group of advisors to help the President make final decisions which are called the Cabinet. He proposed the construction of the house and where it would be located in 1791 yet he is the only President that has not resided in the White House .Washington owned multiple home, but the most well known of Washington’s homes was his family estate, Mount Vernon, in Northern Virginia. The White House has been the place of residence for every sitting United States president since John Adams in 1800 and is symbolic of our country’s government and politics.
After retiring from his position as President in March 4th, 1797, he devoted much of his time to maintaining Mount Vernon as well as his family much like before he became President. In his Farewell Address he warned that America should avoid European politics and being an ally to foreign countries. He died two years after leaving the presidency, peacefully with Martha at the foot of his bed at around 10 PM. He was 67. Martha never remarried. He has been honored in many ways since. For example, Washington , D.C. was named after him as well as George Washington University.
He is one of a few who are referred to as a “Founding Father” and is solely nicknamed “The Father of Our Country”. This is not a nickname that was just given to him. Being the first president, he set an example of what a President should be and laid the groundwork for every one elected President after him and future presidents to come. Washington helped bring the United States Constitution to life and was president of the convention that wrote the Constitution which we still study to this today. He set the precedent for what a president should be and more. He was exemplary and the epitome of a honest, powerful and strong leader when such leaders were lackluster and will forever be remembered as one of, if not the, nation’s best presidents.

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