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In 1752, his brother, Lawrence died and George received his father’s estate in Mount Vernon. His brother’s death also brought about a future for George Washington. George Washington also received the title of adjutant – his brother’s previous rank. Major Washington’s first assignment was when he volunteered to carry the governor’s message to the French commander of immediate withdrawal. His ambition at this time was to secure royal preference for a commission in the regular British Army, and this expedition promised to bring him to the king’s attention. Washington took with him a skillful and experienced frontiersman, Christopher Gist, together with an interpreter and four other men. Reaching the forks of the Ohio, he found that the French had withdrawn northward for the winter. After inconclusive negotiations with the Native Americans living there, who were members of the Iroquois Confederacy, he pressed on and finally delivered Dinwiddie’s message to the French commander at Fort Le Boeuf, not far from Lake Erie. The answer was polite but firm: The French were there to stay. Returning, Washington reached Williamsburg, the capital of Virginia, to deliver this word to the governor in mid-January 1754, having made a hard wilderness journey of more than 1600 km (1000 mi) in less than three months. With his report he submitted a map of his route and a strong recommendation that an English fort be erected at the forks of the Ohio as quickly as possible, before the French returned to that strategic position in the spring.
With this premiere mission, George Washington was later promoted to Militia Commander and ultimately became a General in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. During battles in the Revolutionary War, he was highly unconventional. At times, he had to be reminded to stay in the back of the army or he would be shot. During one battle, he rode his horse up to the front line in order to encourage his troops to continue fighting. By doing this, one of the greatest minds of the world may have died. The war finally ceased in April 1782 and Washington returned to his home in Mount Vernon.
With the war over, the United States (not quite a united United States yet) was still under the influence of The Articles of Confederation. Moreover, the colonies were so disunited, that many counties viewed thirteen different countries rather than one. Among this, there were other problems, such as the small power that the federal government had. Thus, with this in mind, a group of about fifty-five emissaries, from twelve states (the independent Rhode Island sent none) convened at Philadelphia on May 25, 1797, in the imposing redbrick statehouse. With intents on revising the Articles of Confederation, these people realized that the United States must be revised completely – that is, they must make a new constitution. Within seventeen weeks – May 25 to September 17, 1787 – with only forty-two of the original fifty-five remaining, the Constitution of the United States was signed.
The Electoral College unanimously drafted George Washington, the esteemed war hero, as President in 1789. His presence was imposing: 6 feet 2 inches, 175 pounds, broad and sloping shoulders and pockmarks (from smallpox) on nose and cheek. Washington’s long journey from his home, Mount Vernon to New York City, the temporary capital was a triumphal procession with roaring cannons, pealing bells and shouting from citizens. President George Washington also chose his first Cabinet, which gradually evolved into the Washington administration. Under President Washington, and Secretary of Treasure, Alexander Hamilton, the first Bank of the United States appeared, with opposition from Thomas Jefferson. Under Washington, the first tariff law, a low one of about 8 percent on the value of dutiable imports was speedily passed in 1789 by the first Congress.
In 1789, the curtains rose on the first act of the French Revolution. In 1792, the French Revolution took upon a more World War when France declared war on Austria. Washington, fearing a devastating war for the United States issued his Neutrality Proclamation of 1793, shortly after the break of war with Britain and France. Washington perceived that war must be avoided by all cost. The nation in 1793 was militarily weak, economically unsound and politically disunited. According to his Proclamation of Neutrality, the United States would be impartial towards both sides. It was America’s first formal declaration of alookness from the Old World.
With Washington’s second term over, Washington retired as President in 1796. Washington’s Farewell Address was not delivered orally, but published in newspapers. The bulk of the document warned the United States against foreign affairs. With parental wisdom, Washington warned the United States, which was split up into the Pro-French Jeffersonians and the Pro-British Hamiltonians; no avoid tying its political fortunes to foreign affairs. The epochal document has set standards for farewell addresses by later presidents.
Washington’s contributions to the United States were enormous. The central government was strongly established. The West was growing and countries all over the world would mimic the United States, one of the first successful democratic government.
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