George Washington served in the British Military and became the Commander-In-Chief of the Colonial Army during the American Revolution. Washington was elected as America’s first president and was integral in the creation of the United States of America.
George Washington was born in 1732 in the British colony of Virginia. Washington spent his early years on a farm in Virginia and would soon acquire the skills of surveying land which would prove very useful in his later military career. Washington’s military service began in 1753 in the Ohio Country. One of Washington’s first orders was to remove the French from the Ohio River Valley. Washington entered into his first military engagement after discovering a French unit, but made the grave mistake of allowing a Native American chief to execute the surrendered French Captain. Rules of War state that this action was a war crime, and this action would become a spark that began the French and Indian War. Throughout the war, Washington served and learned a great deal about military strategy from his British commanders, information that would eventually be used against them during the American Revolution.
Following the French and Indian War, Great Britain faced an insurmountable level of debt. In order to pay off this debt, Britain issued its infamous series of taxes against the colonists. Like many American colonists, Washington opposed the British taxation and soon became a popular and vocal opponent of them. As the anger of these taxes lead to war, Washington was chosen to be the general and commander-in-chief of the Colonial Army. Washington was met with both victories and defeats throughout the war, but his poise and natural leadership resulted in him rising to an iconic level. Following Britain’s surrender at Yorktown in 1781, American colonies achieved independence, but still had a long road ahead of them.
Washington’s military and political leadership up until this point put him in high standing to be America’s first president. In 1789, George Washington was voted America’s first president along with vice-president John Adams. As president, Washington set numerous precedents, such as establishing the cabinet, appointing Supreme Court justices, and creating the first national bank. President Washington’s two terms as president focused on maintaining peaceful relations with foreign countries while also creating a strong and formidable central government. Following his presidency, Washington retired to his home of Mount Vernon. In 1799, George Washington, the “father of America” succumbed to an infection and died at the age of 67. Although Washington’s life was over, his lasting legacy lived on and is seen by many as one of the greatest and influential Americans in history.
Check out the rest of our Teacher Guides and Lesson Plans!