- Born: February 22, 1732
- Birthplace: Westmoreland County, Virginia
- 1st President of the United States
- Died: December 14, 1799
Father of the Country
The following two statements were made by George Washington
before he was elected President and during his presdency
(Washington's response to the president of the continental congress following his appointment
as commander-in-chief of all continental forces)
Though I am truly sensible of the high honour done me in this appointment, yet I feel
great distress from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may
not be equal to the extensive and important trust. However, as the Congress desire
it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their
service, and for support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept my most
cordial thanks, for the distinguished testimony of their approbation.
But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be
remembered by every gentleman in the room, that I this day declare with the utmost
sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honoured with.
As to pay, Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress that as no pecuniary consideration
could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the expense of my
domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will
keep an exact account of my expenses; those I doubt not they will discharge, and
that is all I desire.
By the President of the United States of America (Thanksgiving Proclamation)
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey
His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor;
and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to "recommend
to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by
acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by
affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be
devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is
the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then
all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection
of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold
mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the
late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;
for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions
of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately
instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we
have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and
various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the
great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;
to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative
duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people
by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully
executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have
shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote
the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them
and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone
knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
The following occured during George Washington's life
During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), Colonel Washington had two horses shot out from under
him and 4 bullets went through his coat without hurting him. The other officers
at the Monongahala River were either killed or wounded.
Following the Peach of Paris (1763) the British Crown rejected most if not all liberties that
were given colonies when the British and French were at war. It took only 12 years, following
the end of the war for all colonial liberties to be trampled by Britian. The British needed a
way to pay for the French and Indian War and so the Stamp Tax was issued and all Colonists
were required to pay it. The Colonists in Boston rebelled with the 'Boston Tea Party'.
The American Revolution was soon to follow.
In a written letter to the continental congress, George Washington said:
"In our own native land, in defence of the freedom which is our birthright, and which
we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it; for the protection of our property,
acquired solely by the industry of our forefathers and ourselves, against violence
actually offered; we have taken up arms: We shall lay them down when hostilities shall
cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be
removed, and not before."
British troops were already entrenched at Bunker Hill with floating batteries on the Mystic
River and a 20-gun ship between Boston and Charlestown.
Regiments were formed in every coloney with recruits from local jurisdictions. Washington
gave instructions for the selection of officers for each of the regiments and
in the instructions given to the recruiting officers, the General enjoined upon them
"not to enlist any person suspected of being unfriendly to the liberties of America,
or any abandoned vagabond, to whom all causes and countries are equal and alike indifferent."
It was now the General's duty to train his army for the war of independence to come.
The American army was now stronger than ever. Recruiting for the last two months had been
unusually successful. The regular army exceeded 14,000 men, and the militia were about 6000.
Washington, thus reinforced, determined to fortify the heights of Dorchester, from which
he could annoy the ships in the harbour, and the army in the town.
There were numerous setbacks at the beginning of the American Revolution and the winter at
Valley Forge was devastating to the Continental Army. New York was lost early in the contest
to British control.
From the embarrassments which cramped the operations of Washington, a partial temporary
relief was obtained from private sources. When Congress could neither command money nor
credit for the subsistence of their army, the citizens of Philadelphia formed an
association to procure a supply of necessary articles for their suffering soldiers. The
sum of 300,000 dollars was subscribed in a few days, and converted into a bank, the
principal design of which was to purchase provisions for the troops in the most prompt
and efficacious manner. The advantages of this institution were great, and particularly
enhanced by the critical time in which it was instituted.
Eventhough the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philidelphia on July 4, 1776,
the American Revolution did not end until 1781 when the British were finally defeated.
When King George III of England heard that Washington was going to retire as Commander of
the Continental Forces, he allegedly said, "If he does that, he will be the greatest man
in the world."
George Washington died on December 14, 1799 and on his tombstone, at Mt. Vernon, is written:
February 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799
I am the Resurrection and the Life;
he that believeth in Me,
though he were dead,
yet shall he live."