Introduction George Washington has been referred to as the “Father of our Country” The reasons being: He was a very knowledgeable and respected soldier. He was a great leader of men and set an example for his troops to follow. When times were tough, he was out front leading by example and living with his men. He held the troops together in desperate and severe times. The soldiers could understand the importance of the war at that time and did not talk about revolution. He never accepted any payment for his service until the war was over. Introduction George Washington has often been seen as a mythological leader of this new and great democracy As a person: Washington was a man of great humility. He was the right person at the right time for the United States of America. He wanted to establish a different kind of leader for this new country. Washington did not want to be a King, he wanted to be an executive leader. The country elected Washington unanimously as their President in the 1789. Washington believed in a strong central government and served for eight years. Background Career before the Presidency: In 1749, Washington was a surveyor for Culpepper County, Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He was in the military from 1752-1758 before being elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1759. From 1774-1775 he attended both Continental Congresses. He led the Continental Army from 1775-1783 during the American Revolution. He then became the president of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. George Washington's Military Career: Washington joined the Virginia militia in 1752. He created and then was forced to surrender Fort Necessity to the French. He resigned from the military in 1754 and rejoined in 1766 as an assistant to General Edward Braddock. When Braddock was killed during the French and Indian War, he managed to keep the unit together as they retreated. Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army - 1775-1783: Washington was unanimously named Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. This army was no match for the British Army. He led them to significant victories such as the capture of Boston along with major defeats including the loss of New York City. After the winter at Valley Forge (1777), the French recognized American Independence and the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781. Election as the First President - 1789: Despite being a member of the Federalist Party, Washington was immensely popular as a war hero and was an obvious choice as the first president for both federalists and anti-federalists. He was unanimously elected by the electors. His runner up, John Adams, was named Vice President. **John Hanson was elected President of the Continental Congress in 1781, and became the first president to serve a one-year term under the provisions of the Articles of Confederation Washington Crossing the Delaware River December 25th, 1776 Painting by the German Artist Emmanuel Leutz President Washington's administration was one of precedents that are still followed. For example, he relied on his cabinet for advice. Since his cabinet appointments went unchallenged, presidents generally choose their own cabinets. Domestically, Washington was able to stop the first real challenge to federal authority with the suppression of the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794. Pennsylvania farmers were refusing to pay a tax and he sent troops to ensure compliance. In foreign affairs, Washington was a huge proponent of neutrality. He declared the Proclamation of Neutrality in 1793 which stated that the US would be impartial toward belligerent powers currently in a war. This upset some who felt we owed a greater allegiance to France. His belief in neutrality was reiterated during his Farewell Address in 1796 where he warned against foreign entanglements. This warning became part of the American political landscape. Washington signed Jay's Treaty which gave away the United States' right to neutrality of the seas allowing the British to search and seize anything they found on American ships traveling into ports of Britain's enemies. In return, the British withdrew from outposts in the Northwest Territory. This forestalled further conflict with Great Britain until 1812. In 1795, Pinckney's Treaty helped relations with Spain by creating a boundary between the United States and Spanish held Florida. Further, the US was allowed to travel the entire Mississippi for the purpose of trade. In the end, George Washington should be considered one of our most important and influential presidents of all time whose legacy still lives on today. George Washington Takes the Oath of Office Political Philosophy Washington’s politics represented the ideals of early America. Washington was an Enlightenment politician who drew inspiration from John Locke. Washington's political allegiances was very diverse as seen by the fact that two of his most important cabinet members were political opposites. Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, was a Federalist who favored a strong central government and National Bank. Thomas Jefferson however, was a founding member of the Democratic Republican Party who opposed the Bank and a supported states-rights over the federal government. With these two men working in the first cabinet, disagreements arose. The most famous was the disagreement over the establishment of Hamilton's National bank. Washington sided with Hamilton and set in place the establishing a National Bank. Washington again sided with Hamilton by supporting the Jay Treaty, which renegotiated trade with Great Britain. This was in contrast to Jefferson's party who were pro-French and thus strongly opposed the treaty. George Washington became a great administrator of the American government, and is quite deserving of his place near the top of the list of greatest Presidents. Domestic Policy Washington, being the first president of the United States, placed him in a position of making crucial decisions. When Washington came to office, these thirteen states were trying to understand what it meant to be United and yet independent nation. Washington increased the power of the United States through The Judiciary Act of 1789 which established a lower Court system. When problems began to arise with money during the war for independence, Washington called on Alexander Hamilton create a National Bank. The first Bank was had the support of the Federalists and was opposed by the Democratic Republicans. Hamilton implemented another plan to help increase revenue to pay. He imposed an excise tax on whisky. When this went into effect, riots broke out and which started the Whisky Rebellion began. Washington took charge and sent an army to end the rebellion. Washington's time in office help the United States gain some source of stability. Foreign Policy Although United States won the Revolutionary War, our relationship with foreign countries was not stable. Washington first act was to send Thomas Pinckney to Spain to negotiate shipping rights on the Mississippi River. This treaty was know as the Pinckney Treaty At the same time, John Jay was sent to talk to the British. Washington wanted to avoid war with Great Britain to all extent. Great Britain had stated that it would not obey the Treaty of Paris until the United States paid all of its debts. Jay came back with a Treaty, which stated that British agreed to leave the United States alone as long as they would not trade with the West Indies. Washington also maintained a position of neutrality during the French Revolution. By avoiding war, In these actions Washington gave this new country a chance to gain stability. Farewell Speech "They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests." Washington believed that political parties would be the down fall of our country. As he neared his resignation, George Washington wrote a letter to the nation. He warned of the danger of political parties, and how they would turn the government from a group of people interested in their nation's future to a rambling mob of power hungry professional politicians. In short, he opposed political parties. However, with the election of the second president, two parties, the Democrats and the Federalists emerged. Legacy George Washington was able to rise above the politics of the day and carry every electoral vote from the states. George Washington's Post-Presidential Period: Washington did not run a third time. He retired to Mount Vernon. He was again asked to be the American commander if the US went to war with France over the XYZ affair. However, fighting never occurred on land and he did not have to serve. He died on December 14, 1799. Historical Significance: Washington's significance cannot be overstated. He led the Continental Army to victory over the British. He believed in a strong federal government which greatly influenced the nation during his eight years in office. He was the executive of our country, not royalty. He worked on the principle of merit. His warning against foreign entanglements was heeded by future presidents. By declining a third term, he set up the precedent of a two-term limit.