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George Washington

George Washington

One of the most important presidents in American history was George Washington. Research papers on George Washington may illustrate that he did many things to install a reliable and dependable government, as first president of the United States. George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Virginia. He became a surveyor in 1749 and survived smallpox infection in 1751. He was commissioned as a Major in the militia in 1752 and in late 1753, and he was sent on a mission by the governor of Virginia that ended up leading to the start of the French and Indian War. Washington was supposed to tell the French mission that it was occupying land that had already been claimed by Britain. However, Washington's peaceful mission ended up becoming violent as Washington's group surprised a small French detachment that it thought was spying for France. Washington's first momentous event in American history was to inadvertently start the French and Indian War.

Washington's next six years were spent fighting for the British and American forces in the war. When the war was concluded, he left military service and returned to Virginia to concentrate on domestic responsibilities. He focused on his farm and the tobacco market. He also met and married Martha Custis, who was destined to become America's first First Lady.

Washington remained a citizen of Virginia for almost twenty years, but as a member of Virginia's House of Burgess from 1759 to 1774, he became increasingly involved in political matters as colonial hostility towards Britain increased in the early 1770s. His political and military abilities led him to be elected as a representative to the First, and more importantly, the Second Continental Congress. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on Washington that follows your guidelines.

Washington and the Second Continental Congress

By the start of the Second Continental Congress, fighting had already broken out between American and British forces. The colonies did not have a significant standing army, but realized that one would be needed if a successful fight against the British was going to be waged. The representatives unanimously elected Washington to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the army. Washington immediately had to face the unenviable task of forging a national army from a group of colonies that had historically considered themselves as separate entities.

Washington succeeded in creating the American army and, with the help of the timely involvement of France, he was able to defeat the British. The United States of America became a new nation, but it was governed by the Articles of Confederation, which resulted in a weak national government. This caused problems for the new nation, because the federal government basically had less power than the individual state governments. Washington supported a stronger national government and also a standing national army and in a letter now referred to as the Circular Letter, he urged the strengthening of the national government. In it, he wrote that "Only 'one Federal head' could guarantee 'an indissoluble Union'".

Washington was named the President of the Constitutional Convention when it met in 1787 to draft a new constitution. After it was ratified, Washington was elected as the first President of the United States. One of Washington's most important acts as President was to encourage former critics of the revolution to participate in the new government. As opposed to most other revolutions, no purges or mass executions occurred in the U.S.: Washington only sought reconciliation.

Another important event in Washington's Presidency was the Whiskey Rebellion, an anti-taxation uprising in Pennsylvania. Washington saw this movement as an affront to the power of the national government and he was eventually forced to lead a detachment of troops to put down the uprising. This event demonstrated that the federal government was the supreme power. It also demonstrated that soldiers would turn out to fight on behalf of the new nation's interests.

A good research paper will show that there were several things that Washington did as president that have had a lasting impact on the history of the United States.

  • First, he helped to create a Cabinet of officials that would assist him in carrying out his responsibilities. Importantly, and in line with his support for national unity, Washington chose a balance of liberals and conservatives to serve in his Cabinet.
  • Second, he created the State of the Union speech where the President informs the nation annually of his intentions for the upcoming year.
  • Third, he allowed his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, to strengthen the federal government by creating a national bank and a currency. Hamilton's ideals were not popular among state's rights advocates, but Washington provided him the support that he needed to get his financial reforms enacted.
  • Fourth, Washington showed respect for the fledgling new democratic system by willingly giving up his position of power after serving only two four-year terms. Washington could have been one of the most powerful leaders in world history to voluntarily step down from office in order to allow someone else to take his place. His example served as a precedent that every President with the exception of Franklin Roosevelt would follow.
  • Fifth, and finally, Washington was able to help unify the nation as its President and Commander-in-Chief. His primary goal was to help the nation survive long enough to begin to forge its own identity. Although the U.S. might have rebelled against Britain anyway had Washington succumbed to smallpox in 1751, it is possible that the rebellion might not have been won without Washington's leadership or that the nation, even if it had succeeded, might not have survived and endured as the democratic nation that it is today.

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