George Washington was born in 1732 on February 22nd. He was born in the state of Virginia. During his youth George Washington was pursuing a career as a planter. One reason George Washington was such a great president was that he was always honest in his youth as well when he was an adult. To read the story about George Washington and the cherry tree, click here. An interesting fact about George Washington was the he had the smallpox when he was sixteen and that left him scarred for life. He married widow Martha Dandridge Custis in 1959. Though he never had any children of his own, he helped raise two of his wives children, John Parke Custis and Martha Custis. After John's death in the war, Washington adopted his step-son's two children, his grandchildren, as his own.

He was a general for the British in the French and Indian War. It gave him lots of experience in fighting techniques and greatly helped him in the Revolutionary War, where he was a general for the colonists. His troops trusted him and greatly respected him. The British way to fight was to stand in lines and take turns shooting at people. That was considered to be the proper way to fight in Europe. When George Washington served in the British army, he suffered one major defeat from that fighting style. He then learned from his mistakes, unlike the rest of the British army.

After the Revolutionary War, all that George Washington wanted was to go home to Mount Vernon and stay there for the rest of his life. He did not want to be the President of the United States. But George Washington had always put his country before himself and if he was wanted as the first President of the United States under the new Constitution, then he felt that it was his duty to serve his country. He was the logical choice for the first president because of a couple of reasons. One reason was the he was the general that had led the Americans to victory over the British in the Revolutionary War. Another reason was that he was the president of the Constitutional Convention and that gained him a lot of respect. Also, just the fact that his country came before his personal interests was a very noble thing for Washington to put as one of his priorities.

Washington's Presidency

George Washington was the first man to set up a cabinet. His cabinet was made up of all of the secretaries of departments that kept the United States running. They were his closest advisers, as well as his Vice President, John Adams. As President, George Washington set up many presidential traditions that are still used today. In example, because George Washington was so well respected, when he entered a room, people stood up and clapped. when some of them wanted to bow, Washington said no. He didn't want the traditions of a monarchy to be used in this new government, such as bowing to royalty, but he wanted the government to be shown some respect, which was all right that everyone would stand when the President came in the room.

George Washington's first key event in showing power in the government was the Whiskey Rebellion. He supported the Whiskey tax. When farmers wouldn't obey the laws, then George Washington asserted his power as the president and enforced that law by sending troops to make sure that this law was passed. By this, he supported the fact the the federal government is number one and to be respected.

There was no limit to how many terms a president could serve. George Washington, however, recognized that if he served for more that two terms, it would seem like he had become the king of the United States. Washington was against that because he saw what happened with monarchies in England and that is what they fought against in the Revolutionary War--having a king rule over them. George Washington established the tradition that a president only served two terms. Every other president, save that of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, served no more than two terms. President F.D. Roosevelt most likely would have stayed with that tradition if it had not been for the war.

Washington's Farewell

This is one of the most famous documents in United States History. It was written by George Washington before he stepped down from the office of president. He was 65 years old when he gave this speech, a very old age at that time.

In this farewell, George Washington warned the future presidents against two main things. One of these things was that the United States should not make any foreign alliances; rather, they should remain neutral. He quoted, " it is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." This was a very good proposition at the time because the United States, if they were pulled into a war against another country because they had a foreign alliance with one country, they would not be able to afford a war at that time.

Today, we have foreign alliances. Sometimes they are bad. We were pulled into two world wars because of alliances with another country. But other times, alliances are good. Trading may become easier with two countries that are friendly with each other rather than two countries that are at war with each other.

The other thing that George Washington warned against was the forming of political parties. He saw this as something that could be destructive to the United States. That in itself was not a very realistic proposal. Today, we have political parties. They help us decide our presidential candidates. People that believe the same things often pull closer together and not every one believes the same things. Still, George Washington was trying to think in the American people's best interests.

He was the first president under the new Constitution. George Washington died on December 14, 1799 from a throat infection.