George Washington Quotes
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George Washington was the first President of the United States, and was among the nation's Founding Fathers. As commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, he was the principal force in victory, effected with the surrender of the British at Yorktown. In 1787 he presided over the Constitutional Convention which formed the new federal government. Since the late 1780s, Washington has been known as the "Father of His Country" by compatriots. Scholarly and public polling ranks him among the top three Presidents in history.
Washington was born to a moderately prosperous family of planters, who owned slaves in colonial Virginia. He had early opportunities in education, learned mathematics and quickly launched a successful career as a surveyor, which in turn enabled him to make considerable land investments. He then joined the Virginia militia and fought in the French and Indian War. During the war with the British he also fought against one of their allies, the Iroquois nation. His devotion to American Republicanism impelled him to decline further power after victory, and he resigned as commander-in-chief in 1783.
Washington was among the country’s premier statesmen and was unanimously chosen as President by the Electoral College in the first two national elections. He promoted and oversaw the implementation of a strong, well-financed national government. He remained impartial in the fierce rivalry between two cabinet secretaries, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, though he adopted Hamilton's economic plans. When the French Revolution plunged Europe into war, Washington assumed a policy of neutrality to protect American ships—although the controversial Jay Treaty of 1795 created an alliance with Great Britain. He set precedents still in use today, such as the Cabinet advisory system, the inaugural address, the title "Mr. President", and a two-term limit. In his Farewell Address he gave a primer on civic virtue, warning of partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars.
Washington inherited slaves at age eleven, prospered from slavery most of his life, and as late as 1793 officially supported other slaveholders. Eventually he became troubled with slavery and in his final will in 1799 he freed all his slaves. He is renowned for his religious toleration; his personal religion and devotion to Freemasonry have been debated. Upon his death, Washington was famously eulogized as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen". He has been greatly memorialized by monuments, public works, places, stamps, and currency. The nation's capital, Washington D.C., and the state of Washington bear his name; and since 1932 the quarter dollar has carried his effigy.