George Washington (1700s) was:
- the first American president,
- the Father of the Country.
- a Founding Father, so he was, of course, extremely wise.
- Commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, winning the country’s independence from Britain.
- one of the three greatest men in history, along with Columbus and Lincoln.
He was honest, brave and wise. He loved freedom and loved his country.
He is from Virginia. His estate is called Mount Vernon. It is unknown how he got it or what he grew there. He owned slaves.
When he was a boy he got an axe for his birthday and cut down a cherry tree. Later when his father found one of his trees cut down, George said he did it – “For I cannot tell a lie.” The story is probably made up, but shows the kind of person he was.
As a young man he was a surveyor. He fought in the French and Indian War, making a name for himself. When America declared its independence in 1776, he became the clear choice to lead the army against the British.
The army had little money. While British generals were enjoying the high life in Philadelphia and New York, he was at Valley Forge freezing in the snow and wind. His (all-white) army did not have proper shoes. Many wore rags. Men were deserting – sunshine patriots! But he kept enough of them together through the winter to hold out against the British.
One Christmas Eve he crossed the Delaware River to take the partying Hessian soldiers by surprise.
He was not able to defeat the British on his own, but he was able to hold out, year after year, till help arrived from the French. They sent their navy and General Lafayette. Washington won the war in 1783 when General Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.
When asked to be king, he said no.
He was voted the first president by a landslide (by the 20% or so who could vote). He took the oath of office on Wall Street in New York.
As president, Washington put down the Whisky Rebellion.
He did not live at the White House – it was still being built (by white people).
He did not believe in political parties or fighting in European wars.
He got the country off to a good start, making him one of the greatest presidents ever.
He was faithful to his wife Martha Washington. He had no children of his own – which probably saved the country from (de facto) monarchy. He had wooden teeth. Unlike Ben Franklin, he wore a white wig, the custom of the day.
He freed his slaves when he died.
His views on slavery, genocide, blacks and Native Americans are unknown.
Washington’s birthday is February 22nd. He was born on the 11th, but they changed the calendar from Old Style.