biographies – g. washington

On April 30, 1789, George Washington (1732 – 1799), President of America, spoke for the first time to a joint session of Congress, in Federal Hall in the new capital, New York City. His deep, and low voice betrayed “manifest embarrassment” – as someone said – and emotion. Washington’s parents were farmers but he chose a military career and in 1775 became commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution. He defeated the British in two battles at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. When elected unanimously first President of the United States both in 1788 and in 1792 he attempted to bring rival factions together to unify the nation and proclaimed American neutrality in the wars raging in Europe after 1793, granting a decade of peace and profitable trade. Washington believed a powerful nation could be built on republican lines using federal power and presided over the convention that planned the United States Constitution. He retired after two terms and peacefully passed the power into John Adams’s hands establishing a tradition that continues today.

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