George Washington – The Most Fascinating President in the American History

George Washington is the most interesting president in the American history.
Some would say George Washington was born on February 22nd, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Others would say that he was born on February 11th, 1732, when the colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian one, moving his birthday 11 days later. Additionally, according to Arthur Holland Michel`s 25 Things You Probably Didn`t Know About George Washington, “since his birthday fell before the old date for New Year`s Day, but after the new date for the New Year`s Day, his birth year was also changed, and it became 1732”.
George was a general, the leader of the Continental Army in the American Revolution and the first American president. He died on December 14, 1799, in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

This primary source comes from the Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch.
National Archives Identifier: 532888
Full Citation: George Washington. Copy of painting by Gilbert Stuart.; 1931 – 1932; Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch, Record Group 148. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/george-washington-copy-of-painting-by-gilbert-stuart, May 28, 2018]

George Washington`s great-grandparents came from England, where they were a distinguished and relatively wealthy family that lost their lands during the Puritan revolution. The first to migrate from England to the United States was George Washington`s great-grandfather, John Washington, who came to the new land empty-handed and started a new life from scratch. George`s grandfather, Lawrence Washington migrated to Virginia, and his father Augustine was a hard-working man that did well for himself, acquiring land, slaves, growing tobacco and building mills. Augustine firstly had a wife called Jane, with whom he had three children. After Jane passed away, he married Mary, and had six more children; George being the oldest.
George started school at the age of six, but abandoned it after his dad`s death during his teenage years, due to the lack of money and the need to work. His insufficiency in studies was evident, and a few Founding Fathers often belittled George. According to GeorgeWashington.org, “however, this lack of education was not George Washington’s fault. Upon the death of George Washington’s father in 1743, George’s formal schooling ended” and “he was required to take on the responsibility of running the family farm after his father’s death.”
By his early teens, George already learned surveying and growing tobacco. He lost his dad at the age of eleven and was given great upbringing by his older, half-brother Lawrence.
In July 1752 Lawrence passed away of tuberculosis and his only daughter, Sarah, passed away only two months later as well, which made George the head of Mount Vernon.
According to MountVernon.org, George inherited Mount Vernon; a house built by his father, that became known during the ownership of his half-brother Lawrence. George enlarged it and “personally supervised each renovation; advising on design, construction and decoration—even during the Revolutionary War. “

 

 

This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 – 2008.
National Archives Identifier: 6425292
Full Citation: A view of George Washington’s mansion; 2/20/1987; Records of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1921 – 2008, Record Group 330. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/a-view-of-george-washingtons-mansion, May 28, 2018]

Soon after Lawrence`s death, George followed his older brother`s footsteps and joined the Virginia militia. Interesting enough, he went from fighting for the British to eventually fight against them, from being a general to ultimately becoming a president, and although he lost more battles than he won, he is still the Father of the U.S. Military.

This primary source comes from the Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch.
National Archives Identifier: 532915
Full Citation: Photograph 148-GW-571; Photograph of a Painting of Washington Taking Command of the American Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts; 1876; The George Washington Bicentennial Commission, 1931 – 1932; Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch, Record Group 148; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/washington-taking-command, May 28, 2018]

This copy of an 1876 Currier & Ives lithograph shows General George Washington taking command of the American Army at Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 3, 1775. The image was collected as part of the George Washington Bicentennial Commission’s plans for a celebration of the birth and accomplishments of our nation’s first President.

At the age of twenty-six, he married a widow who had two children from a previous marriage with a wealthy man but never had children of his own. According to Shukla Sundeep`s 20 Interesting Facts About George Washington, “before Washington married Martha, he was in love with Sally Fairfax, who was the wife of his friend, George William Fairfax.” Sally, who came from a wealthy family, is the one who taught George the high-society manners, how to speak with mighty men, how to be charming and how to dance. Although George only had a total of eight years of formal schooling, he loved writing letters. Among the thousands of letters he wrote throughout his life, he also wrote some to Sally, admitting and declaring his love for her. Sally stayed faithful to her marriage regardless and wished to remain friends with George and eventually with Martha, his wife, as well.
According to the ABCnews.go.com and their What Did George Washington Look Like article, during his thirties, George “might also have been the original American hunk.” He was a tall, handsome man with a lot of charisma, and most likely one of our biggest presidents.
Besides his good looks, George was also the military leader who brought independency to the United States in 1776, established the foundation of the presidency and how the cabinets function.

This print of the Declaration of Independence was created to commemorate the American Revolution Bicentennial in 1976. “Print #3” was made using the 1823 copper plate engraved by printer William J. Stone and is the most frequently reproduced version of the document. The original Declaration of Independence, now exhibited at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, has faded badly—largely because of poor preservation techniques during the 19th century. Today, this priceless document is maintained under the most exacting archival conditions possible.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the Department of State.
National Archives Identifier: 1656604
Full Citation: Print #3 of the Declaration of Independence, 1976; 7/4/1776; Plates and Facsimiles of the Declaration of Independence, 1823 – 1951; General Records of the Department of State, Record Group 59; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/print-of-the-declaration-of-independence, May 28, 2018]

Additionally, he was also an honorary citizen of France. According to Robert O. Paxton`s Can You Really Become French? “George Washington was made an honorary French citizen in 1792.”
Before he became a President, George got his mother`s blessing. Mary Washington, a stubborn and very strong woman who went against the social norms by taking on farm administration responsibilities and especially by not re-marrying, died of breast cancer in 1789. Before she passed away, she informed George of her illness and his initial wish was to decline serving as the President so that he would be close to her, but chose to respect her wish instead. According to Custis, George Washington Parke; Lee, Mary Randolph Custis; Lossing, Benson John`s Recollections and private memoirs of Washington, it is documented that George received her blessing and wished for him to, “go, George, fulfill the high destinies which Heaven appears to have intended for you for; go, my son, and may that Heaven’s and a mother’s blessing be with you always.”
Unlike any other president, George took part in a battle while serving as the President and was the only president to be inaugurated in two cities (in New York City on April 30, 1789, and the second inauguration being the shortest ever delivered in history, in Philadelphia on March 4, 1793.) Despite his financial problems and the fact that he had to borrow money to relocate to New York City to become a President, he declined a presidential salary, as he wanted to protect and portray the image of a selfless public servant. Although the nation`s new capital was named after him, Mr. Washington never lived there. Greeting the President as “Mr. President” was George`s idea, among many other accomplishments.

Another reason why George Washington is the most interesting president in the American history is that on the one hand, he fought for freedom and on another; he owned slaves. These contradictory acts made him unique and much more difficult to comprehend. According to MountVernon.org, “neither George nor Martha was willing to free their slaves during their lifetimes. Pennsylvania had passed a law stating that slaves would become free after residing for six months in the state”… so he and Martha decided to send the slaves out of state so that when they`d return, their clock would reset and they cannot claim freedom.
Resigning and retiring in Mount Vernon, George Washington refused to serve a third presidency but left everything in capable hands and a long list of legacies, including the two-term limit in office (only broken once by Franklin Roosevelt) and above all, the freedom of the United States.

Unfortunately, by his fifties, George suffered from numerous illnesses, including the loss of all his teeth. The disheartening fact is that his denture was made of human teeth (most likely from the mouths of his slaves), cow teeth and elephant ivory, which made him live a harrowing life. One December day, after he spent too much time in a snowstorm and fell asleep with the wet clothes, he got sick and eventually died. According to Biography.com, his death brought a lot of pain to his citizens, but also reached Europe, where “the British fleet paid tribute to his memory, and Napoleon ordered ten days of mourning.”
George Washington is the most fascinating president in the American history, not only because of his inspiring and ambitious upbringing, his courageous military career and the fact that he is the reason behind the birth of our nation, his personal integrity with a deep sense of patriotism, his presidential accomplishments, but also for his mistakes and his controversial acts.

This primary source comes from the Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch.
National Archives Identifier: 532875
Full Citation: Washington’s Farewell to His Officers. 1783. Copy of engraving by Phillibrown after Alonzo Chappel; 1783; Records of Commissions of the Legislative Branch, Record Group 148. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/washingtons-farewell-to-his-officers-1783-copy-of-engraving-by-phillibrown-after-alonzo-chappel, May 28, 2018]

 

Biography:

George Washington. (2018, February 07). Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/george-washington-9524786
25 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About George Washington. (2018, February 19). Retrieved from http://mentalfloss.com/article/56532/25-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-george-washington
George Washington’s Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.georgewashington.org/education.jsp
The Mansion. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mountvernon.org/the-estate-gardens/the-mansion/
What Did George Washington Look Like? (2006, February 19). Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=1637567
Paxton, R. O. (n.d.). Can You Really Become French? Retrieved from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2009/04/09/can-you-really-become-french/
Custis, George Washington Parke; Lee, Mary Randolph Custis; Lossing, Benson John (1860). Recollections and private memoirs of Washington. Derby & Jackson. p. 147.- Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Ball_Washington#cite_note-3
Martha Washington & Slavery. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/martha-washington/martha-washington-slavery/#at_pco=smlre-1.0&at_si=5b0c06ccf0433d65&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=0&at_tot=5
George Washington. (2018, February 07). Retrieved from https://www.biography.com/people/george-washington-9524786

 

Catalina Magee

Founder / Owner of Trend Prive Magazine. Romanian-born American, "seasoned" in Italy, "cooked" in Germany and currently serving in Israel. NCIS Special Agent in Charge EA.

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