George Washington (February 22nd, 1732 - December 14th, 1799) was an American politician, soldier, and surveyor, who served as Commander of the Continental Army & 1st President of the United States of America.
During the American Revolution, Washington commanded the Continental Army against British forces, leading the newly declared republic to victory, and later presiding over the drafting and signing of the U.S. Constitution and U.S. Declaration of Independence.
Early Life Edit
George Washington was born at the Washington Estate in Bridges Creek, Virginia Colony, British America, on February, 22nd, 1732 to Augustine Washington Sr., a farmer, industrialist, plantation owner, slaveholder, and Justice of the Westmoreland County Court, and his wife Mary Washington, née Ball.
George spent a great deal of his youth labouring at Ferry Farm in Stafford County, which he inherited from his father following his death in 1743, when George was eleven years old. He received an elementary education from Anglican clergymen in the nearby town of Fredericksberg, as well as a series of tutors who assisted his additional intellectual pursuits.
In 1748, George received a proposition to join his friend George Fairfax's party on an expedition to map the territories along the border of western Virginia, during this foray he earned considerable experience which would serve him in his career for many years to come.
In 1749, George began his professional career as a surveyor at the age of seventeen, subsequently receiving his commission and licence from the College of William and Mary. His connections with the Fairfax family resulted in his appointment as the official surveyor of Culpeper County, a well-paid position which enabled him to purchase land in the Shenandoah Valley. Within two days he had completed his first expedition, plotting a four-hundred acre parcel of land, and beginning a promising career.
In 1750, George resigned as the official surveyor of Culpeper County, accepting a position under the employ of the Ohio Company, a land investment commission. For the following two years he worked diligently for the company, operating in Frederick County, where he completed nearly two-hundred expeditions, and surveyed more than 60,000 acres of land.
In 1751, George traveled to Barbados, with his half-brother Lawrence, hoping to alleviate the tuberculosis with which Lawrence was afflicted. During their travels, George contracted smallpox, which left him with minimal facial scarring, however this effectively inoculated him and prevented further suffering when exposed with it in the future. Lawrence's health failed to improve, and by July of 1752, he passed away, leaving his estate to George who inherited his plantation at Little Hunting Creek on the Potomac River, referred to by the family as Mount Vernon.
Military Career Edit
Seven Years War Edit
In 1753, Washington was appointed Major in the Virginia Militia, and Ambassador of the British Crown to French forces in the Ohio Valley. Deputy-Governor of Virginia Colony Robert Dinwiddie was designated to defend British territorial claims, and deployed Washington to parley with French officials and demand they vacate from the Ohio Country. During his travels, Washington met with Iroquois chief Tanacharison to ensure his tribe's fidelity to British forces in the case of diplomatic failure between British and French liaisons.
He successfully delivered Dinwiddie's letter to Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, the local commander of the French forces stationed in the region,
Personal Life Edit
Washington was known to have practiced excellent horsemanship, for which he was lauded by both American and European horsemen, prompting his successor, Thomas Jefferson, to remark that he was the greatest horseman of his time. He enjoyed ballroom dancing, hunting, literature, particularly the works of Shakespeare, and frequently attended theater performances. Additionally, he was remarkable for his physical strength, which earned him the admiration of other men during his youth.
Family and Relationships Edit
George was one of nine children, including Augustine Jr., Butler, Charles, Elizabeth, Jane, John, Lawrence, Mildred, & Samuel, three of whom died before adulthood. His father died in April, 1743, when George was eleven years old, and thus, looked up to his half-brother Lawrence as a role model and paternal figure.
Throughout his life, George was affiliated with the Anglican Church and regularly attended the Fairfax Parish in Alexandria. He regarded organized Christianity as a measurement to ensure the endurance of moral values, political order, and social cohesion. He was a faithful Christian, who valued the core tenants of Christianity, however he additionally practiced theological deism, which he held purportedly held in high regard in spite of his vows to defend the values of the Church and the integrity of it's influence.
Regardless of his commitments to the Church, Washington disavowed anti-Catholic sentiments, and defended the freedoms of other Christian denominations to practice their faith.
In 1752, Washington was initiated into the Masonic Order, displaying admiration and dedication to the Order's tenants of rationality and fraternity. In 1777, he was recommended the position of Grand Master of the Lodge of Virginia, however he denied out of precaution, citing a conflict of interests, due his commitments to the Continental Army. Within the following decade, in 1788, Washington was named Master in the Virginia charter of Alexandria Lodge No. 22, with his personal consent.
During his lifetime, Washington was known to have abhorred the institution of slavery, which he regarded as economically unsound and morally indefensible. Additionally, he perceived the division of his countrymen over the institution to be an existential threat to the nation, serving as a precursor to the American Civil War.
George had inherited ten slaves following the death of his father, a fraction of the 220 slaves he would attain during his lifetime, however he posthumously manumitted all but eighty-five of them in his last will & testament, the remainder of whom were divided among the grandchildren of his wife's first marriage.