George Washington

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Portrait, George WashingtonGeorge Washington 1st President of the United States (April 30, 1789 to March 3, 1797) Nickname: “Father of His Country” Born: February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia Died: December 14, 1799, at Mount Vernon, Virginia

Father: Augustine Washington Mother: Mary Ball Washington Married: Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1732-1802), on January 6, 1759 Children: John “Jack” Parke Custis (adopted); Martha “Patsy” Custis (adopted) Religion: Episcopalian Education: No formal education Occupation: Planter, Soldier Political Party: No formal political party affiliation, but see Points of Interest. Other Government Positions:

  • Member of Virginia House of Burgesses, 1759-74
  • Member of Continental Congress, 1774-75
  • Chairman of the Constitutional Convention, 1787-88

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year (refused by Washington)

Presidential Election Results:
YearElectoral Votes
1789George Washington69
tiny U.S. flagJohn Adams34
John Jay9
R. H. Harrison6
John Rutledge6
John Hancock4
George Clinton3
Samuel Huntington2
John Milton2
James Armstrong1
Benjamin Lincoln1
Edward Telfair1
(Votes Not Cast)12
1792George Washington132
tiny U.S. flagJohn Adams77
George Clinton50
tiny U.S. flagThomas Jefferson4
Aaron Burr1
1796tiny U.S. flagJohn Adams71
tiny U.S. flagThomas Jefferson68
Thomas Pinckney59
Aaron Burr30
Samuel Adams15
Oliver Ellsworth11
George Clinton7
John Jay5
James Iredell3
George Washington2
John Henry2
S. Johnston2
Charles C. Pinckney1

Vice President: tiny U.S. flagJohn Adams (1789-97) Cabinet:

Secretary of State
John Jay (1789-90)
tiny U.S. flagThomas Jefferson (1790-93)
Edmund Randolph (1794-95)
Timothy Pickering (1795-97)
Secretary of the Treasury
Alexander Hamilton (1789-95)
Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (1795-97)
Secretary of War
Henry Knox (1789-94)
Timothy Pickering (1795-96)
James McHenry (1796-97)
Attorney General
Edmund Randolph (1790-94)
William Bradford (1794-95)
Charles Lee (1795-97)

Supreme Court Appointments:

Chief Justice
John Jay (1789-95)
John Rutledge (1795)
Oliver Ellsworth (1796-1800)
Associate Justice
John Rutledge (1790-91)
William Cushing (1790-1810)
James Wilson (1789-98)
John Blair (1790-96)
James Iredell (1790-99)
Thomas Johnson (1792-93)
William Paterson (1793-1806)
Samuel Chase (1796-1811)

Notable Events:

  • 1789
    • The Judiciary Act specified the number of Federal courts and judges.
  • 1790
    • Supreme Court met for the first time with John Jay as the Chief Justice.
  • 1791
    • Federal capital established in swamplands on the Potomac.
    • A national banking system established by the Bank Act.
    • The Bill of Rights take effect.
  • 1792
    • Post Office established by Congress as a separate entity.
    • New York Stock Exchange organized.
    • Coins are minted by the government as enacted by the Coinage Act.
  • 1793
  • 1794
    • Whiskey Rebellion over excise tax in western Pennsylvania. Federal troops called to suppress the armed rebellion.
  • 1795
    • The Jay Treaty ratified. British troops required to withdraw from the U.S.
    • Pinckney’s Treaty with Spain opened navigation on Mississippi River.
    • Washington posed for Stuart’s portrait, which is now on the one dollar bill.
  • 1796

Internet Biographies:

George Washington — from The Presidents of the United States of America
Compiled by the White House.
George Washington — from American Presidents: Life Portraits — C-SPAN
Biographical information, trivia, key events, video, and other reference materials. Website created to accompany C-SPAN’s 20th Anniversary Television Series, American Presidents: Life Portraits.
George Washington — from U.S. Presidents
From the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in addition to information on the Presidents themselves, they have first lady and cabinet member biographies, listings of presidential staff and advisers, and timelines detailing significant events in the lives of each administration.
The Apotheosis of George Washington — by Laura Dove, Lisa Guernsey, Scott Atkins and Adriana Rissetto
Very interesting examination of George Washington’s elevation to divine status through history.
A Biography of George Washington 1732-1799 — from From Revolution to Reconstruction
Text copied from National Archives and Records Administration The Founding Fathers’ Page as part of a larger hypertext on American history.
George Washington — from the Mount Vernon Ladies Association
This detailed biography is designed as a teaching aide for students and teachers. The site contains a lesson plan, reading materials, background notes and suggested classroom activities.
The Life of George Washington — by David Ramsay
Published eight years after Washington’s death, this volume covers Washington’s life in thirteen chapters.
The Surprising George Washington — from the National Archives and Records Administration
Richard Norton Smith’s article from the Quarterly of the National Archives (Spring 1994, vol. 26, no. 1) examines Washington’s characteristics and his treatment as a historical figure. More than a typical biography. Also includes links to some images.
George Washington on the Frontier — from The Fort Edwards Foundation
Biography covering Col. Washington’s time at Fort Edwards (1748-1758). Includes text of Washington’s account of the Battle of Fort Necessity.

Historical Documents:

Papers of George Washington
This resource, collected by the University of Virginia and the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, contains historical context to some of the documents and letters written by Washington. Unfortunately, most of the text of these documents are not online.
Letter from Washington to John Hancock (1776)
First Inaugural Address (1789)
Second Inaugural Address (1793)
The Proclamation of Neutrality (1793)
Farewell Address (1796)

Other Internet Resources:

Federalist-Antifederalist Debates –
Learn about this early American political debate and how it influenced the formation of the United States. The website is a project of the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University.
George Washington Memorial Parkway
This parkway preserves the scenery along the Potomac River, from Mount Vernon, through the nation’s capital, to Great Falls on the Potomac. From the National Parks Service.
Moland House
“The Moland House – George Washington’s headquarters on August 10, 1777, where the Marquis de Lafayette joined the American Revolution, the American Flag was said to have first flown over American troops here, and several other historic generals joined the American Revolution.” Located in Warwick Township, Pennsylvania, the history and fight for preservation of this site are explained.
Mount Rushmore
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the faces of Washington, tiny U.S. flagJefferson, tiny U.S. flagLincoln and tiny U.S. flagTeddy Roosevelt stand 60 feet tall.
Mount Vernon
A complete guide to Washington’s Virginia plantation.
Sulgrave Manor
The Sulgrave, England ancestral home of the Washington family. Family history and tour information available.
Washington Monument
Quick facts, history and a tour of this landmark from the National Park Service.
Washington’s Birthplace
Tourist information about this 538 acre National Park can be found from the National Park Service.

Points of Interest:

  • It can be argued that Washington aligned himself with members of the “Federalist Party”, but he never ran for the presidency for any political party. Moreover, his farewell address warned of the dangers of political parties.
  • Believing that shaking hands was beneath a president, Washington bowed to his visitors.
  • Washington has the distinction of being the only president to be elected unanimously by the electoral college.
  • Washington had one remaining tooth at the time of his inauguration. During his lifetime he wore dentures made of human (some his own), cow, or hippopotamus teeth, ivory, or lead, but he never wore wooden teeth.
  • Many places are named after Washington including the nation’s capital, the state, 31 counties and 17 communities.
  • The six white horses in Washington’s stables had their teeth brushed every morning on Washington’s orders.
  • The nation’s capital was located in Philadelphia during Washington’s administration making him the only president who didn’t live in Washington, D.C. during his presidency.

Next President: tiny U.S. flagJohn Adams

©1996-2008. Robert S. Summers. All rights reserved.

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