22 Facts about George Washington
Ever since the American Revolution, the world has taken its hat off to the brilliance and courage of George Washington. As the first president of the United States (1789 – 1797), George Washington played an immense role in making America a trailblazer of democratic systems and economic growth. The following are 22 facts about George Washington, the “Founder of American Democracy”:
- During his presidency (1789–1797), Washington made sure that he stayed objective and fair at all times. He was not the kind of man to be swayed by factional/party loyalties. He always had the interest of his nation at heart. As a result of this, Washington is one of the few leaders in the history of humanity to have remained largely above nepotism and discrimination.
- George Washington was an Episcopalian. He also holds the honor of being the first Mason to become U.S. president. This fact is pretty much redundant because by being the first president of the U.S., every trait of George Washington is straight away going to be the “first” of any U.S. president.
- He was home-schooled by his older half-brother Lawrence. His favorite subject was Mathematics. Shortly after his teen years, he became a surveyor and made himself a reasonable fortune from surveying.
- A year after he and his half-brother Lawrence returned from Barbados, Lawrence succumbed to tuberculosis in 1752. George Washington went on to inherit his brother’s estate.
- Growing up, he was afflicted with smallpox. The disease gave him a permanent facial scar.
- In 1759, he married Martha Dandridge. The couple bore no children together. Martha was a wealthy widow with two children – Pasty Custis and Jack Custis- from her previous marriage. George Washington became their stepdad.
- Many of George Washington’s monumental days occurred on Friday. His date of birth; the day he became a lieutenant colonel; and the day he was elected president of the Constitutional Convention all fell on Friday.
- As at the time that he commanded the Continental Army, George Washington was a four-star general. On the 200th anniversary of America’s independence – July 4, 1976 – George Washington was posthumously awarded the rank of a six-star general. He holds the title of “General of American Armies”.
- En route to occupying the presidency, George Washington received all the votes in the United States Electoral College. It means that the general had 69 out of 69 votes. This shows us how much confidence the electorates had in George Washington. It was an absolutely impressive feat of achievement that will perhaps never be seen anytime in the future.
- Another interesting trivia about George Washington’s presidency comes in the form of his presidential inaugural speeches of 1789 and 1793. His first inaugural speech (in 1789) was in the region of 2,000 words. This speech was addressed in New York and given to both the Senate and the House. However, in his second inaugural speech of 1793, George Washington uttered just 135 words. Also, his farewell speech – written in a public letter in 1796 – was equally as captivating and full of the spirit of patriotism as his inaugural speeches.
- General Washington was unanimously elected the president of the Constitutional Convention which was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Including himself, the number of delegates at the Philadelphia Convention totaled 55. From May to September 1787, George Washington chaired the event, dealing with issues in a just and fair manner. He wholeheartedly believed that the U.S. Constitution should be a sacred document that guaranteed and promoted liberty and justice for all and sundry in the United States.
- Regarding the U.S. Constitution, George Washington and James Madison (“The Father of the Constitution”) are the only presidents to have their signatures on the U.S. Constitution. Interestingly, the two men both hailed from the state of Virginia.
- George Washington was the first president to appear on a U.S. postage stamp. The stamp was issued in 1861.
- Along with 3 other distinguished presidents – Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln – George Washington’s face is carved boldly on Mount Rushmore.
- Considering the fact that his position was entirely unprecedented, George Washington preferred the title ‘Mr. President’. He tried as much as possible to do away with any inclination or attempts to make the presidency similar to that of a monarchy. Hence he refused all fancy titles.
- His level of altruism was simply off the charts. At some point, he vehemently turned down the salary assigned to the office. He believed the job that he performed was one of public service; hence he did not need any monetary compensation.
- Taking note of the cracks that were beginning to appear in his administration, that is – Federalists versus Anti federalists, George Washington took a bold step by issuing the Proclamation of Neutrality in April 1793. He believed that the presidency should be an office devoid of biases and party affiliations in order to be able to truly serve the American public.
- With regard to his foreign policy, he remained neutral when dealing with European powers. With the Jay Treaty of 1795 (negotiated by Chief Justice John Jay), he made sure that the relationship with former colonial master Britain was cordial. He also tried to keep the United States away from European conflicts between the French and the British.
- After he left office in 1797, George Washington spent a couple of years in retirement before giving up the ghost on December 14, 1799, at his Mount Vernon home in Virginia. He was 67 at the time of his death, which was caused by a throat infection that he had acquired while inspecting his farm on a raining day.
- Due to the amount of special love he had for his home state, Virginia, Congress changed their original plans of burying George Washington at the U.S. Capitol. Instead, his body was laid to rest in Mount Vernon, Virginia.
- George Washington’s impressive legacy and achievements include the U.S. Capital Washington D.C. that he helped plan along with the likes of Thomas Jefferson. What this means is that the State of Washington is the only state in the United States to bear the name of an American. He preferred living in Mount Vernon to Washington D.C. Come to think of it, how amazing and honorable is it for someone to be in the same city that was named after himself/herself? Well, only George Washington is capable of being bestowed such an honor.
- During the Revolution or during his presidency, he stood for what he believed and reasoned was right. He stood for liberty and justice. However, he was a bit toothless (pun intended). George Washington, 56 at the time, had just one tooth at the time of his presidential inauguration ceremony. Being without some teeth was not anything strange back in the late 1700s. Who could blame them when a sense of oral hygiene had yet to take root (another pun intended) in the society?
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