George Washington

In office: 1789-1797

George Washington (1732- 1799)

George Washington was one of the founding fathers of the United States. As a child and throughout his teenager years he lived in Virginia where he grew up along with the higher nobility Fairfax family whose daughter Sally he became close friends with.

Despite his feelings for Sally he decided to be with Martha Dandridge Custis, an intelligent and influential widow who helped him to a political career - thanks to her countless important acquaintance and financial means.

Military and Politics

After a short military career Washington started his political path in 1759 as a member of parliament in the “House of Burgesses” and made himself a name throughout the war of independence against Great Britain. After a first defeat he later was able to win against the British army in the battle of Yorktown due to being supported by the French.

Presidency: 1789 - 1797

Washington realized early that the confederation articles did not much but tie down the states in inflexible rules. He asked for a constitutional reform and took the lead in the “Constitutional Convention” in 1787.

In 1789 Washington was voted first president concordantly by the ten participating states. John Adams was voted vice president.

As the first US president George Washington founded the Supreme Court (1789) and the “Bank of the United States”, arranged a census of population, included the states of Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee into the confederation and added ten amendments to the Bill of Rights.

Resigning before his possible third mandate set an example for the presidents to follow. Except for Franklin D. Roosevelt all US presidents have conserved this tradition until today and have never served more than two mandates.

Throughout the 8 years as a president George Washington had never been a member of a political party. His nickname as a “federalist” has his origin in his efforts to install a national authority which was to stand above the single states. This made him the spiritual father of the later founded Federal Party.

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (born 1731, † 1802)

When she was 18 years old, Martha Dandrige got married to the rich Mr. Danile Parke Cistis. Her husband died in 1757, when both of their children were still very young. Only two years later, Martha got married to the 26 years old George Washington and became the first “First Lady” of the United States. Back then, Martha was the richest woman of Virginia.

Unfortunately Martha was just not happy. She wrote a letter to her niece stating that she sometimes felt like a prisoner, who was told what to do and what not. She really wanted to spend more time at home, but this was not possible.

Despite her feelings, her husband and her children always came first. Furthermore, due to her family background, she was always diplomatic and discreet.

After George Washington died, Martha burned all the letters she wrote to her husband in order to keep her privacy.

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