George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Virginia. He was the oldest son of Augustine and Mary Washington. He went to live with his half brother after his father died in 1743. His first job was that of surveyor. After his half brother died, George inherited the Mount Vernon estate, located on the Potomac river.
His military career began in 1753. He was appointed as military adjunct for one of Virginia’s districts. His first order to carry out was to warn the French that they were encroaching on British territory.
In 1754 Washington took part in the French and Indian War. He attacked a French scouting party on his way to Fort Duquesne. His group killed 12 and wounded 22. This was the actual start of the war. On July 3, 1754 at Fort Necessity, Washington was forced to surrender. He resigned his commission near the end of that year. However, he signed up again the following year and was part of British General Braddock’s forces which took over Fort Duquesne in 1758. His losses and victories would shape his future endeavors in the coming Revolutionary War.
He served in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1759 through 1774. In 1759, he married Martha Custis. Upset with the way the British were handling the colonists, he became a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congress. He did not actively participate in the deliberations, but was present.
In June of 1775 he was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental forces. His first job was to train 14,000 undisciplined forces. In the last months of 1776, he lost New York City to the British. However, he successfully evacuated his troops. On Christmas night in 1776, he crossed the Delaware river and took Trenton from the British. Early in January of 1777, he took Princeton. During the harsh winter of 1777-78, Washington worked hard to keep the spirits of his troops up at Valley Forge. That Spring, Washington got leadership help from Prussian Barron von Steuben and the French Marquis de LaFayette. The war shifted to the South in 1780. Finally, on October 19, 1781, the Continental forces surrounded Cornwallis at Yorktown. With his surrender, the Revolutionary war came to an end.
Washington was elected the first President in 1789. During his first term, he had to balance the growing debate on policies between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. He was re-elected in 1792. He accepted the Jay’s Treaty in 1794. This helped settle the differences between the British and America. He refused to run for office again and retired in 1797.
On December 14, 1799, Washington died from acute laryngitis. He was 67 years old. He was laid to rest at his Mount Vernon home on December 18, 1779. George Washington is often referred to as the father of our country. His image is often used as a symbol of the United States.