Essay, Research Paper: George Washington


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George Washington is best known as the “Father of our Country.” He cared for
this country much like a parent would care for a child. During his presidency,
he solved many noteworthy problems. His achievements led to a democratic,
wonderful country we like to call The United States of America. Although he’s
not thought of as glamorous, George Washington is looked upon with the utmost
respect and awe by all countries of the world. George Washington was born in
Westmoreland County, Virginia on February 22, 1732. He was the oldest son of a
Virginia farmer. Washington received most of his education at home. When he was
17 he was appointed surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia. In 1752 Washington
inherited Mount Vernon, in Fairfax County. The same year he was appointed
adjutant of the southern district of Virginia, a full-time salaried appointment,
carrying the rank of major. He wanted to eventually secure a commission in the
regular British army. In 1753, Virginia was alarmed when a French expedition
from Canada established posts on the headwaters of the Ohio River. Conflict over
this area eventually erupted into the French and Indian War, in which Washington
played a major military role that established his reputation as a commander. In
the fall of 1758 the French were defeated. In 1759 he married Martha Dandridge
Custis, a wealthy young widow. Washington matured into a solid member of
Virginia society. From 1759 to 1774 he served in the House of Burgesses. By 1774
Washington had become a key supporter of the colonial cause. That same year he
was elected to the First Continental Congress. In 1775 the Second Continental
Congress elected Washington commander in chief of its army. In July Washington
arrived in Massachusetts, where the battles at Lexington and Concord had been
fought. The British pulled back most of their troops to winter in New York City,
leaving scattered garrisons of German mercenaries in New Jersey. On December 25
Washington led his small army across the ice-clogged Delaware, successfully
attacked a garrison at Trenton, and re-crossed the Delaware without
interference. In January 1777 near Princeton, he defeated three British
regiments marching to reinforce General Charles Cornwallis. The British
eventually surrendered. After the victory, Washington rejected a plan, which had
support in the army, of establishing a monarchy with himself as king. In 1789,
members of the first Electoral College unanimously voted George Washington as
President of the United States. Washington walked unsteadily on the uncharted
ground of the presidency and was unsure of himself as he began the new
responsibilities of his office. He had the help of only a few officials. Also,
he and the Vice-President were the only heads of the executive branch.
Washington believed that the executive, legislative, and judicial branches
should have a large gap between them. He also believed that the president should
not influence Congress in the passing of laws. However, if he does not agree
with a certain bill, he has the power of vetoing it. He viewed the
responsibilities of the president largely as administering the laws of Congress
and supervising relations with other countries. Washington had set an important
precedent when he attained the power to appoint and dismiss his own department
heads. Without this example, Congress could sneak behind the President’s
authority and allow unwanted department heads to stay in office against the
President’s wishes. Washington was ecstatic about forming his cabinet, and he
and his advisers acted with exceptional energy. Washington was well equipped for
the work of building a structure of administration. He had a talent for fusing
together his plans and actions to get adequate results. First, he acquired the
necessary facts, which he weighed carefully. Once he had reached a decision, he
carried it out with vitality and tenacity. He was never lazy in making decisions
for his country. He always acted promptly and decisively. Thorough, systematic,
accurate, and, being attentive to detail also described his personality. He
expected the same enthusiasm from every one in his administration. On September
24, 1789, Washington passed The Judiciary Act, which set up a federal court
system. Its basic features were provided for by the Constitution. Since the
president is considered the chief enforcer of federal laws, it is his duty to
prosecute cases before the federal courts. In this work his agent is the
attorney general. The Judiciary Act of 1789 planned so well, that most of its
essential features have survived until today. Washington believed strongly in
the constitutional demand that the executive, legislative, and judicial branches
of the government should be kept as separate as possible. Washington did not use
his charisma or office to influence legislative debates. He thought that the
President should not try to control the kinds of laws that Congress passed.
However, he believed that if he disapproved of a bill, he had the right to veto
it. Washington believed that the president’s duties were to administer the
laws of Congress and supervise relations with other countries. George Washington
was the first true pioneer of the newly born United States of America. He helped
shape this country to its Democratic perfection today. During his double termed
presidency, he ran the country with poise and dignity. It is no wonder that
Henry Lee uttered that famous epitaph: “first in war, first in peace, and
first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

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