BORN: February 22, 1732 at Pope's Creek, Virginia
FAMILY:Married Martha Dandridge Custis on January 6, 1759
No natural children (Adopted the children of Martha Custis) Grandfather by marriage of Confederate General Robert E. Lee
MILITARY SERVICE: Commanding General, Revolutionary War
PROFESSION: Surveyor / Planter
POLITICAL PARTY: Federalist
HOME STATE: Virginia
POLITICAL OFFICES: Chairman of Constitutional Convention
NICKNAME: "Father of our Country"
DIED: December 14, 1799 (Age - 67)
LAST WORDS:"I die hard, but I am not afraid to go. 'Tis well."
BURIED: Mount Vernon Estate, Mount Vernon, Virginia
"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried
before you give them your confidence."
"First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen."
General Henry Lee (father of Robert E. Lee) to both houses of Congress on December 26, 1799
MORE ON GEORGE WASHINGTON
MORE ON GEORGE WASHINGTON
April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on
Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first President of the
United States. "As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to
establish a Precedent," he wrote James Madison, "it is devoutly wished
on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles."
in 1732 into a Virginia planter family, he learned the morals, manners, and body
of knowledge requisite for an 18th century Virginia gentleman.
pursued two intertwined interests: military arts and western expansion. At 16 he
helped survey Shenandoah lands for Thomas, Lord Fairfax. Commissioned a
lieutenant colonel in 1754, he fought the first skirmishes of what grew into the
French and Indian War. The next year, as an aide to Gen. Edward Braddock, he
escaped injury although four bullets ripped his coat and two horses were shot
from under him.
1759 to the outbreak of the American Revolution, Washington managed his lands
around Mount Vernon and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Married to a
widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, he devoted himself to a busy and happy life. But
like his fellow planters, Washington felt himself exploited by British merchants
and hampered by British regulations. As the quarrel with the mother country grew
acute, he moderately but firmly voiced his resistance to the restrictions.
the Second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia in May 1775,
Washington, one of the Virginia delegates, was elected Commander in Chief of the
Continental Army. On July 3, 1775, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, he took command
of his ill-trained troops and embarked upon a war that was to last six grueling
realized early that the best strategy was to harass the British. He reported to
Congress, "we should on all Occasions avoid a general Action, or put
anything to the Risque, unless compelled by a necessity, into which we ought
never to be drawn." Ensuing battles saw him fall back slowly, then strike
unexpectedly. Finally in 1781 with the aid of French allies--he forced the
surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
longed to retire to his fields at Mount Vernon. But he soon realized that the
Nation under its Articles of Confederation was not functioning well, so he
became a prime mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention at
Philadelphia in 1787. When the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral
College unanimously elected Washington President.
did not infringe upon the policy making powers that he felt the Constitution
gave Congress. But the determination of foreign policy became preponderantly a
Presidential concern. When the French Revolution led to a major war between
France and England, Washington refused to accept entirely the recommendations of
either his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, who was pro-French, or his
Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who was pro-British. Rather, he
insisted upon a neutral course until the United States could grow stronger.
his disappointment, two parties were developing by the end of his first term.
Wearied of politics, feeling old, he retired at the end of his second. In his
Farewell Address, he urged his countrymen to forswear excessive party spirit and
geographical distinctions. In foreign affairs, he warned against long-term
enjoyed less than three years of retirement at Mount Vernon, for he died of a
throat infection December 14, 1799. For months the Nation mourned him.
1789 THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION
GEORGE WASHINGTON’S 1789 THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION
By the President of
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor - and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be - That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks - for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation - for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war - for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed - for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted - for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions - to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually - to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed - to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord - To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us - and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
under my hand at the City of