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George Washington - Referat

George Washington

* February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, VA
+ December 14, 1799 in Mount Vernon, VA

Early Life and Career

_ son of Augustine Washington, member of the colonial aristocracy, and Mary Ball Washington
_ moved to Mt. Vernon, home of his elder half brother Lawrence, after father´s death
_ read widely in Mt. Vernon´s library
_ appointment to survey Lord Fairfax´s lands in the Shenandoah Valley
_ inherited Mt. Vernon after his brother´s death in 1752
_ travelled to Fort Le Boeuf, PA to deliver to French authorities an ultimatum to cease1) fortification and settlement in English territory (1953)

French and Indian War

1754 volunteer aide-de-camp2) to the British General Edward Braddock

Braddock´s men ambushed3) by French soldiers and Indians _ Braddock mortally wounded

Washington survives
1755 promoted to colonel and appointed Commander in chief of the Virginia militia
1758 took an active part in Gen. John Forbes´ successful campaign against Fort Duquesne

>> during this war evolved from an impatient young officer to a mature4) soldier with a sense for administration

Virginia Politician

· G. Washington left the army in 1758 and returned to Mt. Vernon
· He married the widow Martha Dandridge Curtis in 1759
· Entered politics, serving in Virginia´s House of Burgesses (1759 - 74)
· Became a leader in Virginia´s opposition against Britain´s colonial policies (taxation without representation)
· Afterwards a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congress (1774 - 75)
· In June 1775 became Commander in Chief of the Continental forces

American Revolution

_ July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence; Virginia Bill of Rights
_ Washington occupied Dorchester Heights and then moved on to defend New York City against Sir W. Howe
_ Short of men and supplies the Americans lost New York City to the British; Washington was despaired5)
_ Capture of Trenton, N.J. on Christmas night 1776 · Colonial moral revived
_ Victory in Princeton, N.J. on January 3, 1777
_ Serious reverses in Pennsylvania at Brandywine and Germantown (September & October 1777)
_ Defeat of the British at Saratoga (October 1777) by Benedict Arnold and Horatio Gates, not by Washington
_ Conway Cabal: intrigue against Washington by some members of Congress and army officers to replace Washington · but lack of public support
_ Washington´s army was strengthened by the help of French Marquis de LaFayette and the
Prussian Baron von Steuben (spring of 1778)
_ In 1780 he concentrated on co-ordinating allied forces · plans conducted by other Generals
_ Planned and executed the Yorktown Campaign against Charles Cornwallis, securing the American victory (October 19, 1781) >> Peace of Paris in 1783
_ After the war he returned to Mt. Vernon avoiding involvement in Virginia politics
_ In May 1787 he headed the Virginia Delegation to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia

The Presidency

· He took office on April 30, 1789, reelected in 1792
· Failed to heal the widening breach6) between faction led by Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton

>> support of Hamilton´s (Federalist) controversial fiscal policies: assumption of state debts, the Bank of the United States

· Acceptance of the Jay´s Treaty (1794) settled differences between the United States and Britain

>> seen as surrender to British demands by Jeffersonians (Republicans)

· Vigorous upholding of the excise7) law during the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania
· Washington left office in 1797 >> financial system established, diplomatic difficulties removed
· Reluctantly accepted command of the army in 1798 when war with France seemed imminent8)
· Preferred to spend his last years in happy retirement at Mt. Vernon

1) to cease - to stop; 2) aide-de-camp -military officer who acts as assistant to a senior officer; 3) to ambush - make a surprise attack on sb. from a hidden position; 4) mature - fully developed in mind or body; 5) despair - state of having lost all hope; 6) breach - a break in usu. friendly relations between people or groups; 7) excise - a government tax on certain goods manufactured, sold or used within a country, 8) imminent - likely to happen very soon

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