George Washington

A Brief Biography

Gabriel García Márquez

George Washington, also known to be the "Father of His Country," has very important significance for the history of the United States. Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia on February 22, 1732, Washington was the oldest of six children. His early education was simple and managed to accommodate only such practical subjects as mathematics and surveying, the basis for his professional life. His military and public accomplishments, in their turn, became possible due to the basis of his very first experiences and functions that he got in the Virginia militia as a leader. His relentless and dutiful character began forming at the early age and became the cornerstone of his great role in the foundation of the United States.

His serious military career actually started during the French and Indian War, in which he gained invaluable experience in combat and leadership on the frontier. Though he failed at first in his early career, his strong will and strategic sagacity were formed gradually, and he became the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He showed great resoluteness in this conflict besides tactical genius: an example is when he crossed the Delaware River and won in Yorktown. He had great skill at keeping up the morale and appearance of the Continental Army in the face of great adversity and substantial losses, which went a long way in winning American independence from British rule.

After the war, Washington's reputation as leader and patriot was simply without equal. He presided at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and the dignity and strength with which he filled that office supplied these elements to the deliberations. Washington's leadership was central to the formulation and acquisition of ratification of the United States Constitution, which set forth the format of government for the new nation. His unanimous election as the first President of the United States in 1789 was clear testimony to the great trust and esteem in which the American people held him. During his presidency, Washington set invaluable precedents, among others: he established the cabinet and a tradition for a peaceful transfer of power.

As president, Washington had the difficult job of creating a working government out of almost nothing. He could deal with formidable problems, from setting up a national bank and shaping a sound economic stand to being able to bring about neutrality in international affairs. Washington gave his Farewell Address in 1796, in which he warned the nation to steer clear of political factions and alliances. It stands as one of the major addresses in American political history. These were the qualities of pragmatism, humility, and a sense of responsibility that defined Washington's leadership and have since been used as a benchmark by subsequent presidents for emulation.

George Washington retired in his beloved estate at Mount Vernon during his latter years, where he continued overseeing his agricultural interests and administered public affairs. He was a symbol of national unity and integrity. George Washington took his last breath on December 14, 1799, but his legacy as the model of leadership and civic virtue lives on. In many ways, in monuments and memorials, to his face on the dollar bill, he has been celebrated therein, so that his place in the birth of the United States will not be forgotten.