George Washington – Public American Figure
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 and is one of the most well known public American figures that has helped transform the United States into what it is today. George Washington is known as a Founding Father of the United States amongst others which include Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, John Adams, and Alexander Hamilton to name a few. These important figures in American history led the notorious American Revolution against the American colonies mother country known as Great Britain.
The American colonies were able to win the revolt against Great Britain with the help of France, Spain, and the Netherlands. The victory against Great Britain resulted in the colonies declaring independence from Great Britain. This victory has allowed America to expand, prosper, and develop into what it is now without the interference from Great Britain. This essay focuses on the accomplishments of George Washington which include using no other precedent other than his common sense to create a structured government, where he was at before becoming president, and what he did to not only help himself during presidency but to help future presidents.
Throughout all the advancements, changes, and movements which have occurred in the United States from the very beginning, it all wouldn’t have happened without the help of George Washington. One has got to start somewhere and George Washington just happens to be the first president the United States has ever had. Rowland L. Young states in his article titled A Legend and a Man that Without Washington, the Revolution would probably have failed, and it is certain that without him the government of the United States would have taken a different nature. Where would America be without Washington in the history textbooks? There would definitely be a drastic change in history if there was someone other than Washington as president. No one could get the job done like Washington and there would probably be a different outcome in regards to the American Revolution. Before George Washington no one was appointed to set the rules for America and to represent America.
But before Washington became president he was made commander without having any military experience of his own. With now having experience in the military, this shows Washington’s true character of being brave and determined which most likely helped him win the election. When the American Revolution began in 1775, he was named commander in chief of the Continental Army. Washington was then named a national hero after ending the American Revolution by capturing British Troops in Yorktown, Virginia. In 1787 Washington attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and was head of the committee to draft the constitution. The delegates were so impressed by his leadership that they deemed him to be the most fit to serve as America’s first ever president. With that, he became America’s first president. Young then asserts in his article that as president, Washington faced an unprecedented task of creating a whole executive government with nothing to guide him but his own common sense and the laconic words of Article II of the Constitution.
It sounds like a strenuous task because Washington had to set up the rules for guiding the American nation without any advice from someone with previous knowledge. Everything he accomplished within his two terms of presidency, (1789-1797) was a learning experience and was all based on his own common sense. Young also states that One of Washington’s contributions to the government was his invention, perhaps inadvertent, of the cabinet ” a term that he himself did not use until 1793. The cabinet was basically a group of important people that are in the government which advise the president and help with making important decisions. Thanks to Washington, the idea of having cabinets is still used today among presidents and are there to assist them. What helped Washington the most throughout his presidency was his religious faith and his moral beliefs.
William B. Allen writes in his article called The Moral Foundations of Political Choices: George Washington, Foreign Policy and National Character that Washington believed that God’s Providential hand had made the founding of the new republic possible and that the survival and success of this experiment was of enormous moral significance to world history, first and foremost because the nation held out the promise of securing civil and religious liberty. During his times of policy making and decision making he looked to God and believed he couldn’t have done it without him. When it was time for Washington to leave presidency in 1796 he wrote the Farewell Address in which he advised the American public on the dangers of party politics and warned about having permanent alliances in regards to the United States and other countries. Allen also writes that Washington’s unwavering goal in this endeavor was to create a nation dedicated to and capable of sustaining civil and religious libertyAll Washington wanted was for the American people to be free to do what they pleased and didn’t want anyone to restrain anyone from accomplishing things due to their religion. Although, there was a lot of work to be accomplished from that period in time, Washington tried his best to advance and protect the nation when policy making and decision making.
He established the fundamentals on how to serve as president for all future presidents to learn from. Unfortunately, Washington died on December 14 of 1799 at the age of 67 due to a throat infection he got from riding through wet and snowy weather several days in advance. To this day, Washington is a celebrated national figure that helped shape America and its government into what is today. I find him interesting because he is the first ever president America has had and was a very courageous person as he was commander in chief of the Continental Army. I’m thankful that he was president because who knows what could’ve been established if someone else took his place. America wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for him.
Allen, William B. “”THE MORAL FOUNDATIONS OF POLITICAL CHOICES: GEORGE
WASHINGTON, FOREIGN POLICY AND NATIONAL CHARACTER.”” The Review
of Faith & International Affairs 9, no. 4 (2011): 3-12.
Young, Rowland L. “”A Legend and a Man,”” American Bar Association Journal 68, no. 2 (February 1982): 178-181
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