Essay on Washington

This essay has a total of 1779 words and 8 pages.


George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Here he
received little formal education. Historians have speculated that he attended a school in
Fredericksburg, or may have been tutored by an indentured servant. Washington lived with
his mother until the age of 16.

At the age of 15, Washington took a job as an assistant land surveyor. In 1748, he joined
a surveying team that was sent to the Shanandoah Valley to help survey the land holdings
of Lord Fairfax. By 1749, he established a good reputation as a land surveyor and was
appointed to the official land surveyor of Culpeper County.

Washington’s father owned several farms. When his father died in 1743, his stepbrother
Lawrence received the Mount Vernon Estate. Lawrence Washington died nine years later. His
will stated that if his daughter, Sarah, died without baring children the Mount Vernon
Estate would go to George Washington. Sarah Washington died two years later without baring
children. Washington began his military career on February 1,1753, when he was sworn into
the Virginia militia. He started as an adjutant for the southern part of the colony. Next,
he set out to Fort Le Beouf on Lake Erie. He sent a message stating for the French to
leave the land alone. The French denied his message. Four months later, they promoted him
to lieutenant colonel. After defeating some French scouting party in southern
Pennsylvania, they promoted him to colonel in charge of all the Virginian troops. Colonel
Washington led an attack at Fort Necessity, Pennsylvania, where he and 400 troops
surrendered to the French and Indians. In October Washington resigned as colonel and
returned to Mount Vernon. Governor Dinwidde begged and pleaded for his return. He denied
at first, but decided to regain control. Washington remained colonel for the rest of the

After the French and Indian War Washington again stepped down. He retired to Mount Vernon
as a planter and a legislator. On January 6,1759, he married Martha Dandridge Custis. She
was a wealthy widow and mother of two children. The couple had no children together, but
he raised those of his wife as his own. During 1759-74, he managed his plantations and sat
in the Virginia House of Burgesses.

By the 1770s, the relationship between Britain and the colonies became strained.
Washington represented Virginia at the First and Second Continental Congresses. When
Patrick Henry was asked to name the greatest man in congress, he replied: “ if you speak
of solid information and sound judgement, Colonel Washington is unquestionably the
greatest man on the floor.” In May of 1775, just after Lexington and Concord, Washington
showed up to the Second Continental Congress wearing his colonel’s uniform. This act
magnified his belief on taking military action against the British. On June 15, the
delegates unanimously elected him as commander and chief of the armed forces. He accepted

By July 3, 1775, he had taken command of the troops at Cambridge. His first victory came
in March of 1776, when the British evacuated Boston. He kept them surrounded for eight
months. The evacuation proved that he could beat the British in a major battle. Washington
figured that the British would strike New York next. So, Washington meets them there in
force, where he suffered defeat due to lack of supplies, experienced officers, and
disciplined troops. Washington’s army now totaled about 5,000 men. Many people feared that
the war was lost. Washington took away that fear when he launched the attack on Hessian
troops at Trenton the day after Christmas, 1776. He followed up this victory by a win at
Princeton, two weeks later. Washington’s next loss came in September of 1777. He was
forced to fight a battle that he knew he would lose. The British navy took over
Philadelphia at the battle of Brandywine Creek. The American cause was strengthened in
October, when General Gates won at Saratoga, New York. Gates captured Burgoyne and 5,000
British troops. Washington and his men spent that winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Good news came in the spring of 1778. The French decided to send money, troops, and a
fleet. When the British received this news the decided to consolidate their position to
New York and New Jersey. Between 1778 and 1781 Washington kept the British army concealed
to New York City. During this time he faced numerous disappointments by losing the battles
of Brooklyn Heights, Kip’s Bay, Harlem Heights, and White Plains.

In the summer of 1781, Washington was finally rewarded. The French decided to send the
main part of their military. They also made a substantial loan to help the Americans. When
it became known that Cornwall is had invaded Virginia, Washington and Recomb took their
combined armies to Virginia. When they arrived, they met up Lafayette and troops from the
French fleet that had sealed off the Chesapeake Bay. The greatest event of Washington’s
military career came on October 19, 1781 when he defeated Cornwall is at Yorktown.
Cornwall is surrendered his entire army of more than 7,000 men. The fighting was finally
over, although it would still take two years to form a formal peace treaty.

Washington was now in his early fifties. After the war he resumed life as a planter
confident that his days of public service were over. But, a few years had past and the
inability of Congress to solve national problems because of lack of authority under the
Articles of Confederation worried him. So, he became a delegate on the Virginia
legislature to help mend the Constitution.

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