George Washington Quotes
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George Washington was a soldier, farmer, and statesman, as well as the first President of the United States under the U.S. Constitution. Since the late 1780s, Washington was commonly referred to as the "Father of His Country" by his compatriots. He was commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and presided over the 1787 Constitutional Convention. As a leading Patriot, Washington was among the nation's Founding Fathers.
Born into wealthy slave-holding Virginia gentry colonial society, Washington had early opportunities in his education and in military service which he exploited. He learned mathematics, which launched his early successful careers as a surveyor and land investor. He joined the Virginia militia at age 20, fought in the French and Indian War, and rose to the rank of colonel. The Second Continental Congress made him commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in 1775. Washington's strategy, field command, and development of the army combined with a French alliance to defeat the British, who surrendered after the Siege of Yorktown. He also waged total war against the Iroquois nation, a British ally. His devotion to American Republicanism impelled him to decline further power after victory, and he resigned as commander-in-chief in 1783. He was unanimously chosen to lead the Constitutional Convention in 1787 which devised the new Federal government.
Washington was also unanimously elected as President by the Electoral College in the first two national elections. He oversaw the implementation and promotion of a strong, well-financed national government; he also suppressed a rebellion. He remained impartial in the fierce rivalry between two cabinet secretaries, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, though he adopted Hamilton's plans to pay federal and state debts, create a national bank, establish the seat of government, and implement a tax system. When the French Revolution plunged Europe into war, Washington assumed a policy of neutrality to protect American ships—although the Jay Treaty of 1795 created an alliance with Great Britain. He set precedents still in use today, such as the Cabinet system, the inaugural address, the title "Mr. President", and a two-term limit. His Farewell Address was a primer on civic virtue, warning of partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars.
As a planter, who inherited African slaves at the age of eleven from his father, Washington engaged and prospered in slavery most of his life but eventually became troubled with its practice; in his 1799 will he bestowed freedom on all his slaves. Washington is noted by historians for his religious toleration, but his personal religion, and devotion to Freemasonry, have been debated. Upon his death, he was famously eulogized for his patriotism as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen". Scholarly and public polling ranks him among the top three Presidents in history, and he is honored by countless monuments, public works, place names, stamps, and currency.