George Washington: (1732-1799) First United States President
George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Va., on February 22, 1732. As a young man, Washington helped to survey the Shenandoah Valley of the Ohio Valley. In 1754 he served as a lieutenant colonel in the French and Indian War, and by the next year he held the position of aide to Gen. Edward Braddock.
The Second Continental Congress elected Washington Commander in Chief of the Continental Army on July 3, 1775. He took command of untrained troops and embarked upon a war that was to last six years, a war that Washington realized was best fought with a strategy of harassment toward the British, instead of traditional battlefield meetings. By 1781 Washington forced General Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown, with the help of French allies.
On April 30, 1789 was sworn into office as the first President of the United States, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York.
By the end of his first term Washington was disappointed to see that two parties were developing, and in his Farewell Address, he urged his countrymen to forswear excessive party spirit and geographical distinctions.
George Washington died at his estate on December 14, 1799.