The first President of the United Statesby Rit Nosotro First Published:: 2003
George Washington was one of the greatest men to help in the founding of the
United States of America. To help America become an independent nation, he formed
the Continental Army, fought to win the American Revolution, and helped form
the new Government.
The Washington family migrated from England to Virginia in 1657. George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732. He was raised in a Christian home and loved the Lord. He was the oldest son of a very rich farmer, Augustine Washington. The family’s wealth was the result of hard work in the areas of farming, land buying, and development of local industries. The Washington's gained wealth because of his father's second wife, Mary Ball.
In November of 1752 he began working as a military officer. During the next
summer, George was alarmed by reports that a the French people from Canada were
making posts on the Ohio River and trying to make treaties with the Native American
Indian peoples. Washington took the skillful and experienced Christopher Gist
with him to the French camps. Washington also took an interpreter and four other
men. When they reached the fork in the Ohio, he found that the French had gone
somewhere north. He had hoped that the French would try to make peace with America,
but he was disappointed. The French would not withdraw. Washington sent a small
group of armed men, lead by Officer Trent, to go and get the French.
Before George Washington had gone very far, he got news that the French had driven Trent’s men back from the Ohio fork. But Washington did not turn back; he pushed on to make an advanced position from which, when reinforced, he hoped to turn the tables against the French. He ordered part of his men to work on building a log stockade, which he named Fort Necessity. On May 27, 1754, he took the French by surprise and forced them into the woods after a short battle. The French commander, Ensign Joseph Coulon, Sieur de Jumonville, died in the battle, and Washington took a few prisoners back to Fort Necessity. He had won his first victory and he thanked the Lord for it.
In 1758, George married Martha, whom he loved
dearly but was often away from their home on Mt. Vernon due to the politics
of the times.
On June 15, 1775, the Continental Congress unanimously picked George Washington as general and commander in chief of its army. He was elected for two reasons. The first reason was because he was respected for his military abilities, his selflessness, and his strong commitment to colonial freedom. Secondly, he was chosen because Washington was a Virginian, and people truly hoped that his appointment would make Southern colonies support the rebellion in New England. Congressman John Adams of Massachusetts was the one who was in charge of securing the command for Washington. He realized that, although the war had begun in Massachusetts, success could only occur if all 13 colonies were united in their protest and in their willingness to fight.
Washington continued to work for the Continental Congress and fought the British until America won their revolution. Although he had an untrained army, with God’s help and wisdom, he won the American Revolution. Americans were very proud of Washington and made him their President because he was such a strong character in battle and in integrity. George was not a mere Deist but rather one who trusted in the person of Jesus with all his heart, as his journals and letters reveal. In a little book he titled, "Daily Sacrifice", he wrote, "Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate Blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit... daily frame me more and more into the likeness of Thy Son Jesus Christ. ... Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me; and hast given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerely endeavoring to conform my life to His holy precepts and example."1
In the spring of 1790, Washington caught influenza. For several days many people thought that he could not live and would die in a matter of days. The illness and the anxiety of it that spread throughout the country underlined Washington’s importance to the new nation. Abigail Adams, wife of the vice president, wrote: “It appears to me that the union of the states and consequently the permanency of the government depend under Providence upon his life. At this early day when neither our finances are arranged nor our government sufficiently cemented to promise duration, his death would ... have ... the most disastrous consequences.”
George Washington recovered and he gave all of the glory of his healing to God. Although his illnesses had permanently weakened him, he was elected for President of the United States of America for a second term in office. His continual work to strengthen America was made possible by his daily prayer devotions. Many people believe that he was one of the greatest Presidents America ever had. He knew the hand of God was on his own life and that of America. President Washington spoke, "It would be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe." Washington continued: "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of Providential agency."
On the morning of December 14, 1799, Washington awoke with an inflamed throat. His condition constantly got worse and worse. He was weakened farther by medical treatment that included frequent blood-letting. He faced death calmly, as “the debt which we all must pay,” and died at 11:30 that night. In the national mourning that followed, many tributes were paid to Washington. President Adams called him “the most illustrious and beloved person which this country ever produced.” Adams later added: “His example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age but in future generations as long as our history shall be read.”
1Marshall, Peter, The Light and the Glory, 1977, page 285
- Encyclopedia of American Presidents
- George Washington