George Washington: 1st President

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George Washington's Military Life

George Washington was our first American president. Because of his strong role in founding the United States of America, he is often nicknamed the "father of his country." Without him, our country would not be the country it is today. His first role was not only as our first American President, but was as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. He did that from 1775 to 1783. Then four years later, he helped write our Constitution. It was not until 1789 that he became president.

Just like now, people voted on who should become president. There were 69 electorates, and each of those people were given two votes. It was unanimous, all sixty nine voted at least once for Washington. Some voted twice! There were a few people who voted for John Adams with their second vote, which is why John Adams became our first vice-President. He would later become our second United States President.

Photo of George Washington

George Washington was the General and Commander in Chief of the Coninental Congress.
George Washington was the General and Commander in Chief of the Coninental Congress. | Source

George Washington's Parents

George Washington did not have an exceptional childhood. He was the third child of a middle class, tobacco planter named Augustine Washington. His mom was Augustine's second wife, and George was her oldest. Her name was Mary Ball Washington.

Fun Facts

  • He was born a redhead.
  • One of his favorite foods was ice cream.
  • People wanted to call him King George, but after a long war separating against a ruler, he insisted on being called president not king.
  • During his time in office, the thirteen colonies added three more states: Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

George Washington's Birthday

President Washington was born in Colonial Beach, Virginia. There is a discrepancy of his birthday, due to different calendars that were used at the time. The Julian calendar which is the calendar that Washington himself would have used, stated that his birthday was February 11, 1731. The calendar in which we use today, known as the Gregorian calendar, would state his birthday as February 22, 1732, and that is the day we still celebrate Washington's birthday today.

George Washington's Hair

George Washington had red hair while he was young, and though there are rumors that he wore a wig , it is believed he actually powdered his hair white. Many believed he wore a wig, because that was in fashion at the time he was president, but on several of the portraits of George Washington, you can see that his hair was in fact powdered white.

First Portrait of Young George Washington

He was quoted as writing to a friend, "There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery."
He was quoted as writing to a friend, "There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery." | Source

Did George Washington Have Children?

As an adult, Washington grew to be six feet two inches, and was often looked up to figuratively and literally. He married Martha Dandridge Curtis Washington shortly before his 27th birthday. Martha Washington would later become the first first lady. Martha was married before, and had given birth to four children from her first husband, only two of them survived. Washington most likely knew Martha and her husband for years before her first husband died. After her husband died, they married and George raised her two children as his own. They never had children together. Later in life, he would raise two more children, when his oldest son John died, leaving behind his two children.

Basic Facts

Question
Answer
Born
February 22, 1732 in Virginia
President Number
1
Party
Federalist
Military Service
British Militia: 1752–58 Continental Army: 1775–83 U.S. Army: 1798–99
Wars Served
• French and Indian War • Battle of Jumonville Glen • Battle of Fort Necessity • Braddock Expedition • Battle of the Monongahela • Forbes Expedition • American Revolutionary War • Boston campaign • New York and New Jersey campaign • Philadelphia campaign • Yorktown campaign • Northwest Indian War
Age at Beginning of Presidency
57 years old
Term of Office
April 30,1789 - March 3, 1797
How Long President
8 years
Vice-President
John Adams
Age and Year of Death
December 14, 1799 (aged 67)
Cause of Death
unknown

George Washington and Slavery

He was also thought of to be of great moral character. One time, he was even quoted as writing to a friend, "There is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do, to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery." This statement seemed ironic, since he himself had slaves, and so did his father. He had once expressed his desire to sell his slaves if there was an American victory in the war. Since some of the men he had as slaves were too old to be sold, plus there were many slaves within his household who had intermarried, he chose not to "sell" any of the men so that way their families would be preserved.

Excerpt from the History Channel

George Washington's Cabinet

Washington appointed four positions that would make up the cabinet. These men would help him in his duties. These same four positions are still part of the cabinet today; they include: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, and Attorney General.

During his presidency, he appointed Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State after Jefferson proved his ability in writing the Declaration of Independence. He later became the third president.

The Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton. Washington chose him, because he was the personal assistant or "aide-de-camp" to Washington when he served as General.

Henry Knox was chosen for the Secretary of War, due to Knox's excellence as a military officer in the Continental Army.

Washington's final cabinet member was the Attorney General. He appointed Edmund Randolph who also served as aide-de-camp to him.

George Washington's Inauguration

As our first President, George Washington constructed a lot of what we know of our country today. He developed many of the forms and rituals of government. Two of these great developments was the construction of the cabinet system and delivering of the the inaugural address. The cabinet system in the United States is different than in other countries. The cabinet acts as an official advisory group that influences decisions and advises the President in making wise decisions. Washington also developed a strong and well-financed national government, which was able to survive the raging wars that were going on in Europe.

List of American Presidents in Order

1. George Washington

2. John Adams

3. Thomas Jefferson

4. James Madison

5. James Monroe

6. John Quincy Adams

7. Andrew Jackson

8. Martin Van Buren

9. William Henry Harrison

10. John Tyler

11. James K. Polk

12. Zachary Taylor

13. Millard Fillmore

14. Franklin Pierce

15. James Buchanan

16. Abraham Lincoln

17. Andrew Johnson

18. Ulysses S. Grant

19. Rutherford B. Hayes

20. James Garfield

21. Chester A. Arthur

22. Grover Cleveland

23. Benjamin Harrison

24. Grover Cleveland

25. William McKinley

26. Theodore Roosevelt

27. William Howard Taft

28. Woodrow Wilson

29. Warren G. Harding

30. Calvin Coolidge

31. Herbert Hoover

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt

33. Harry S. Truman

34. Dwight D. Eisenhower

35. John F. Kennedy

36. Lyndon B. Johnson

37. Richard M. Nixon

38. Gerald R. Ford

39. James Carter

40. Ronald Reagan

41. George H. W. Bush

42. William J. Clinton

43. George W. Bush

44. Barack Obama


George Washington On Political Parties

Washington was not a fan of political parties and did not classify himself with one. He actually had hoped separate political parties would not develop, because they would undermine republicanism. Unfortunately, this would change years later.

Washington's Inaugural Address

George Washington's first Inaugural Address was given on Thursday, April 30,1789 in the city of New York. It was originally scheduled to be the first month in March, but the weather was unseasonably cold and snowy; therefore, traveling was nearly impossible. He first took the oath of office on a balcony at a federal hall in New York City, because at the time New York City was the new nation's capital. People were so excited about the news that he received a thunderous applause, and many churches rang their bells to commemorate that great moment.

He then went to speak to Congress giving the very first first inaugural address. To show his sincerity of words, he held his hand upon an open Bible. His address included humble feelings regarding uncertainty of being the man most capable of being President over the new country and continued to express his sincere gratitude of the trust he was given by the people. The complete inaugural address can be read here.

For many years, most presidential inaugurations took place on March 4th, except when the fourth was on a Sunday, in which the address would take place on the fifth. On March 2nd, 1932, the Twentieth Amendment was passed, which changed the date to January 20th. The first inaugural address to be given on the new date was in 1937.

Overall George Washington was well-liked and considered a great success as our first United States President. He has been remembered for all his military and political success, as well as his noble character.

George Washington Art

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Painting of George Washington, painted in 1796. George Washington is so revered, he is one of the Presidents shown on Mount Rushmore. This was a painting of George Washington in 1776.
Painting of George Washington, painted in 1796.
Painting of George Washington, painted in 1796. | Source
George Washington is so revered, he is one of the Presidents shown on Mount Rushmore.
George Washington is so revered, he is one of the Presidents shown on Mount Rushmore. | Source
This was a painting of George Washington in 1776.
This was a painting of George Washington in 1776. | Source

© 2011 Angela Michelle

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Comments 12 comments

angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 5 years ago from United States Author

Thanks so much, I am going to go through all of the Presidents eventually. :) I'm actually learning quite a bit. It's been kind of fun, and I'm not normally into history...


BakerRambles profile image

BakerRambles 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

I really like this, you offer awesome insight into the true nature of George Washington, and I love history, im glad i found your hubs, i will continue reading more.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 5 years ago from United States Author

Really, I might have to check those out. Interesting. :)


Old Empresario 5 years ago

There are some new biographies written fairly recently about him: The Ascent of George Washington by John Ferling and George Washington; A Life by Ron Chernow. They focus more on the human side of Washington and his business and political career.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 5 years ago from United States Author

Pamela, the funny thing is I've never really gotten into history, until recently. I think I'm going through all of the Presidents. I may refrain some from some of the newer ones as I think it will add too much debate in the comments. :) LOL


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 5 years ago from United States Author

Wow!!! I have never heard that. For some reason that doesn't surprise me!!! Humankind has always been trying to make gods and idols!


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 5 years ago from United States Author

Samson, I'm not very sure. It didn't sound like he was a very religious man, by some of his quotes. I think he was very idolized, and some of athe "memories" may be slightly skewed.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

Excellent tribute to George Washington. I always enjoy reading history as we can learn so much from our forefathers.


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 5 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

Luckily for America he turned down any suggestions that he become a King.There were people who thought we should have a King.Old habits die hard I guess.I understand there was a statue made in his image portraying him as a God.Then there is the story written by one of his men in arms who served under him directly who claimed Washington related to him having a vision where he saw the future of America and the problems we would face.


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee

up and beautiful! Well written and interesting to read. Is it true he awoke at 0500 (5 AM) each day and prayed for an hour and read the Bible before breakfast?


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 5 years ago from United States Author

He seemed a lot more awesome than I originally expected him to be. I was surprised how popular he was. It was quite fascinating to study on him.


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Thank you for this tribute and information about our first president.

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    Sources

    • Facts and Trivia About President George Washington. (2016, January 30). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from http://americanhistory.about.com/od/georgewashington/a/geo_washington.htm
    • First Inaugural Address. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from http://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/gw-inauguration/
    • Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O.: for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., 1989; Bartleby.com, 2001. www.bartleby.com/124/. [Date of Printout].
    • Primary Documents in American History. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/inaugural.html
    • Sullivan, George. Mr. President: A Book of U.S. Presidents. New York: Scholastic, 2001. Print.
    • U.S. Presidential Fun Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/history/presidential-fun-facts/#geo-washington.jpg
    • Washington's First Inaugural Address. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/washington/inaugural.html

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