George Washington was the first president of the United States and he has had many influences on America. It has been debated recently what religion he followed, but we know that he is a Christian. George Washington didn’t originally want to be a part of the Constitution, but he was talked into it and his role was to provide a sense of focus and direction. Washington had strong political views, but he didn’t affiliate himself with any political parties.
Throughout his time as the President, he sided with the Federalists on must of the issues, but he didn’t officially join with the Federalists. George Washington, also called Father of His Country, was born on born February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, and he died on December 14, 1799, in Mount Vernon, Virginia. He was an American general of the colonial armies in the American Revolution and subsequently the first president of the United States. When George Washington was only eleven years old his father died.
His dad left most of his property to his older brothers, and he inherited ten of is fathers slaves.
Back then it was popular to have slaves like land, you could buy them, sell them, give them away, rent them out, and pass them down through inheritance. The money that they had at that time as just enough to maintain them. Since he was the oldest child still living at home, he helped his mom maintain the house and property that the lived on, where he learned the importance of hard work and efficiency.
Not that much is known about his education in his younger years, but it is known that usually kids back then were homeschooled by private tutors, or they went to a nearby private school. Boys usually started their education around the age of seven with lessons in reading, writing, and basic arithmetic. Later on in their education, they were taught Latin, Greek, geometry, bookkeeping, and surveying.
George wanted to join the British Navy, but his mother didn’t want to let him. Instead, he joined George William Fairfax as a surveyor. In July, when he was seventeen years old, Washington got a job as a surveyor for the county of Culpeper. When he was starting to gain more money he wanted to establish himself as a member of the gentry class. So he worked hard, saved his money, and bought unclaimed land. On January 6th, 1759, he married Martha Dandridge Custis, who was a woman from the Tidewater area of Virginia. Martha brought to the marriage enormous wealth, and two small children Jacky and Patsy. This was her second marriage and his first. When he married Martha, it more than doubled the number of slaves under his control through their marriage, this left him with forty slaves living at Mount Vernon. Although his marriage brought him, forty slaves, they were not his property, the slaves belonged to Martha’s first husband.
He served two terms as President of the United States, his first term started with organizing the executive branch and establishing administrative procedures that would make it possible for the government to operate as he believed were necessary to the countries future. He surrounded himself with the most able men in the new nation. He appointed Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury, Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, and Henry Knox, as Secretary of War. James Madison was one of his principal advisors. When he was giving his inaugural address, he told the people that he had never been in a public position like that, but he was the most fit person for that job. He used his power as president to show the people that there could be someone in that position without being a corrupt leader. Thomas Jefferson once wrote that, “His integrity was the purest, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motive of interest or consanguinity, friendship, or hatred, being able to bias his decision.”
He set a standard for the integrity of our presidents which was rarely met by his successors. When he finally retired, he and Martha moved back to their house in Mount Vernon. Unfortunately, though his time there was cut short by illness. On Thursday, December 12, 1799, George Washington was supervising farming activities from late morning until three in the afternoon. The weather shifted from light snow to hail and then to rain. When he returned home, he was told to change out of his wet clothes, but he didn’t want to be late for dinner so he stayed in his wet clothes. He immediately recognized that he had a sore throat that was only getting worse. He went to bed but woke up at two in the morning in great pain. Martha was concerned about his health and told someone to go get help. Tobias Lear, his secretary got Dr. James Craik a family friend and physician for forty years. As he only became sicker, two additional doctors were called and arrived to help him.
Even though he got induced vomiting, an enema, and vinegar and sage tea, he only got sicker. He asked for his two wills and directed that the unused one should be burned. Between ten and eleven at night on December 14, 1799, George Washington passed away. He was surrounded by people who were close to him. Washington was not buried for three days as his will said. During that time his body lay in a mahogany casket in the New Room. On December 18, 1799, a solemn funeral was held at Mount Vernon. George Washington used God’s name over 146 times in his personal and public writings, many of which were in his public speeches. He used many phrases like “so help me God”, “thank God”, ‘ It urges the people in the young country to express their gratitude to God” and many more related to God in his writings. Washington knew that the people that the Constitution would be a way for the government to take over all power from the states. Washington refused to go because he knew that they would try to make him the leader and the nations first president. He didn’t want to be seen as a person just wanting power.
James Madison and General Henry Knox were eventually able to convince him to go to the Convention. Everyone there knew that they need a good leader and they believed that Washington needed to be in charge because of the great trust and respect he had received during the War. His political views: Washington was for national freedom, individual liberties, and a strong central government that would serve to protect the people. Washington believed in the separation of church and state. Washington provided many of the ideals of the European Enlightenment. With him not picking a party, it let him be a better leader. At some points though, he had to make decisions that would make him favor more towards one party than the other. One decision that he had to make was the signing of the Jay Treaty with England in 1794. This treaty was caused by rising tension with the British. The treaty was mainly written by Alexander Hamilton, who was a Federalist, so it favored the Federalist Party. On the other hand, the Democratic-Republicans did not support the treaty. Though Washington stood for a powerful central government, he did not believe that a single man in the United States government should have all that power. So he refused to run for a third term as President, setting an example for the future Presidents of the United States.