The President of the United States is the elected head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. The president is indirectly elected to a four-year term by the people through the Electoral College.
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At the time of his death inGeorge Washington owned some slaves. As a teenager, Washington, who had shown an aptitude for mathematics, became a successful surveyor. His surveying expeditions into the Virginia wilderness earned him enough money to begin acquiring land of his own.
InWashington made his only trip outside of America, when he travelled to Barbados with his older half-brother Lawrencewho was suffering from tuberculosis and hoped the warm climate would help him recuperate.
Shortly after their arrival, George contracted smallpox. He survived, although the illness left him with permanent facial scars. An Officer and Gentleman Farmer In DecemberWashington, who had no previous military experience, was made a commander of the Virginia militia. ByWashington had resigned his commission, returned to Mount Vernon and was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he served until In Januaryhe married Martha Dandridge Custisa wealthy widow with two children.
Washington became a devoted stepfather to the children; he and Martha never had any offspring of their own. In the ensuing years, Washington expanded Mount Vernon from 2, acres into an 8,acre property with five farms.
He grew a variety of crops, including wheat and corn, bred mules and maintained fruit orchards and a successful fishery. He was deeply interested in farming and continually experimented with new crops and methods of land conservation.
The American Revolution By the late s, Washington had experienced firsthand the effects of rising taxes imposed on American colonists by the British, and came to believe that it was in the best interests of the colonists to declare independence from England.
Washington served as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in in Philadelphia. By the time the Second Continental Congress convened a year later, the American Revolution had begun in earnest, and Washington was named commander in chief of the Continental Army.
Washington proved to be a better general than military strategist. His strength lay not in his genius on the battlefield but in his ability to keep the struggling colonial army together. His troops were poorly trained and lacked food, ammunition and other supplies soldiers sometimes even went without shoes in winter.
However, Washington was able to give them the direction and motivation to keep going. Over the course of the grueling eight-year war, the colonial forces won few battles but consistently held their own against the British.
In Octoberwith the aid of the French who allied themselves with the colonists over their rivals the Britishthe Continental forces were able to capture British troops under General Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown, Virginia.
This action effectively ended the Revolutionary War and Washington was declared a national hero. However, inhe was asked to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and head the committee to draft the new constitution.
At first Washington balked. He wanted to, at last, return to a quiet life at home and leave governing the new nation to others. But public opinion was so strong that eventually he gave in.
The first presidential election was held on January 7,and Washington won handily. The United States was a small nation when Washington took office, consisting of 11 states and approximately 4 million people, and there was no precedent for how the new president should conduct domestic or foreign business.
Mindful that his actions would likely determine how future presidents were expected to govern, Washington worked hard to set an example of fairness, prudence and integrity.
In foreign matters, he supported cordial relations with other countries but also favored a position of neutrality in foreign conflicts.
Domestically, he nominated the first chief justice of the U. Supreme CourtJohn Jaysigned a bill establishing the first national bank and set up his own presidential cabinet. His two most prominent cabinet appointees were Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamiltontwo men who disagreed strongly on the role of the federal government.
Washington believed that divergent views were critical for the health of the new government, but he was distressed at what he saw as an emerging partisanship.
Washington Retires to Mount Vernon Inafter two terms as president and declining to serve a third term, Washington finally retired. In his farewell address, he urged the new nation to maintain the highest standards domestically and to keep involvement with foreign powers to a minimum.
The address is still read each February in the U. Washington returned to Mount Vernon and devoted his attentions to making the plantation as productive as it had been before he became president.
More than four decades of public service had aged him, but he was still a commanding figure.Home | Press | Site Map | Help | Credits | Press | Site Map | Help | Credits.
Which President served as a lieutenant colonel in the Spanish-American war? Who was the first Democrat elected after the Civil War? Who introduced Social Security?
If you’re looking to learn more about the past Presidents who have led our country, you’re in the right place. Take a look at our full set of biographies.
Then, quiz your friends. The nature of the presidency has evolved considerably over the course of American history, from the limited role the framers of the Constitution had in mind to the rise of the president-centered government of the twentieth century.
The framers of the Constitution were wary of executive power because. America’s Founding Fathers decided that one elected civilian - the U.S. president - would lead the executive branch of the federal government, a governmental structure that has remained in place.
The History of the Presidency. The nature of the presidency has evolved considerably over the course of American history, from the limited role the framers of the Constitution had in mind to the rise of the president-centered government of the twentieth century.
82 rows · William Henry Harrison's presidency was the shortest in American history. .