Рефераты. George Washington

George Washington




Executed: Gadjimagomedova H.

Examined: Akhmedova Z.G.

Makhachkala 2001


1. Introduction

2. Early Career

3. French and Indian War

4. Life at Mount Vernon

5. Early Political Activity

6. The American Revolution

7. Washington Takes Command

8. Washington Takes Command

9. The Military Campaigns

10. Political Leadership During the War

11. The Confederation Years

12. The Presidency

13. The Executive Departments

14. The Federalist Program

15. The Judiciary System

16. The Western Frontier

17. The British and French

18. Washington Steps Down

19. Last Years

George Washington (1732-1799), first PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

When Washington retired from public life in 1797, his homeland was vastly

different from what it had been when he entered public service in 1749. To

each of the principal changes he had made an outstanding contribution.

Largely because of his leadership the Thirteen Colonies had become the

United States, a sovereign, independent nation.

As commander in chief during the American Revolution, he built a large

army, held it together, kept it in a maneuverable condition, and prevented

it from being destroyed by a crushing defeat. By keeping the army close to

the main force of the British, he prevented them from sending raiding

parties into the interior. The British did not risk such forays because of

their belief that their remaining forces might be overwhelmed. The British

evacuation of Boston in 1776, under Washington's siege, gave security to

nearly all New England.

Drawing from his knowledge of the American people and of the way they lived

and fought, Washington took advantage of British methods of fighting that

were not suited to a semiprimitive environment. He alternated between

daring surprise attacks and the patient performance of routine duties.

Washington's operations on land alone could not have overcome the British,

for their superior navy enabled them to move troops almost at will. A

timely use of the French fleet contributed to his crowning victory at

Yorktown in 1781.

After the war Washington took a leading part in the making of the

CONSTITUTION and the campaign for its ratification. Its success was assured

by 1797, at the end of the second term of his presidency. In 1799 the

country included nearly all its present-day territory between the Atlantic

coast and the Mississippi River.

President Washington acted with CONGRESS to establish the first great

executive departments and to lay the foundations of the modern federal

judiciary. He directed the creation of a diplomatic service. Three

presidential and five congressional elections carried the new government,

under the Constitution, through its initial trials.

A national army and navy came into being, and Washington acted with vigor

to provide land titles, security, and trade outlets for pioneers of the

trans-Allegheny West. His policy procured adequate revenue for the national

government and supplied the country with a sound currency, a well-supported

public credit, and an efficient network of national banks. Manufacturing

and shipping received aid for continuing growth.

In the conduct of public affairs, Washington originated many practices that

have survived. He withheld confidential diplomatic documents from the House

of Representatives, and made treaties without discussing them in the Senate

chamber. Above all, he conferred on the presidency a prestige so great that

political leaders afterward esteemed it the highest distinction to occupy

the chair he had honored.

Most of the work that engaged Washington had to be achieved through people.

He found that success depended on their cooperation and that they would do

best if they had faith in causes and leaders. To gain and hold their

approval were among his foremost objectives. He thought of people, in the

main, as right-minded and dependable, and he believed that a leader should

make the best of their good qualities.

As a Virginian, Washington belonged to, attended, and served as warden of

the established (Anglican) church. But he did not participate in communion,

nor did he adhere to a sectarian creed. He frequently expressed a faith in

Divine Providence and a belief that religion is needed to sustain morality

in society. As a national leader he upheld the right of every sect to

freedom of worship and equality before the law, condemning all forms of

bigotry, intolerance, discrimination, and persecution.

Throughout his public life, Washington contended with obstacles and

difficulties. His courage and resolution steadied him in danger, and defeat

steeled his will. His devotion to his country and his faith in its cause

sustained him. Averse to harsh measures, he was generous in victory. "His

integrity," wrote Thomas JEFFERSON, "was the most pure, his justice the

most inflexible I have ever known. He was, indeed, in every sense of the

word, a wise, a good, and a great man."

Early Career

George Washington was born in Westmoreland county, Va., on a farm, later

known as Wakefield, on Feb. 11, 1731, Old Style (Feb. 22, 1732, New Style).

His first American ancestor, John Washington, came to Virginia from England

in 1657. This immigrant's descendants remained in the colony and gained a

respected place in society. Farming, land buying, trading, milling, and the

iron industry were means by which the family rose in the world. George's

father, Augustine, had four children by his first wife and six by his

second wife, Mary Ball, George's mother. From 1727 to 1735, Augustine lived

at Wakefield, on the Potomac River between Popes Creek and Bridges Creek,

about 50 miles (80 km) inland and close to the frontier.

Of George's early life little is known. His formal education was slight. He

soon revealed a skill in mathematics and surveying so marked as to suggest

a gift for practical affairs akin to youthful genius in the arts. Men,

plantation life, and the haunts of river, field, and forest were his

principal teachers. From 1735 to 1738, Augustine lived at "Little Hunting

Creek" (later Mount Vernon). In 1738 he moved to Ferry Farm opposite

Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock River. Augustine died when George was

11, leaving several farms. Lawrence, George's half brother, inherited Mount

Vernon, where he built the central part of the now famous mansion. Another

half brother, Augustine, received Wakefield. Ferry Farm went to George's

mother, and it would pass to George after her death.

These farms bounded the world George knew as a boy. He lived and visited at

each. Ambitious to gain wealth and eminence, mainly by acquiring land, he

was obliged to depend chiefly on his own efforts. His mother once thought

of a career for him in the British Navy but was evidently deterred by a

report from her brother in England that an obscure colonial youth could not

expect more at Britain's hands than a job as a common sailor. George's

youthful model was Lawrence, a cultivated gentleman, whom he accompanied on

a trip to Barbados, West Indies, in 1751. Here George was stricken with

smallpox, which left lasting marks on his face.

When but 15, George was competent as a field surveyor. In 1748 he went as

an assistant on a surveying party sent to the Shenandoah Valley by Thomas,

6th Baron Fairfax, a neighbor of Lawrence and owner of vast tracts of land

in northern Virginia. A year later George secured a commission as surveyor

of Culpeper county. In 1752 he became the manager of a sizable estate when

he inherited Mount Vernon on the death of Lawrence.

George's early experiences had taught him the ways of living in the

wilderness, had deepened his appreciation of the natural beauty of

Virginia, had fostered his interest in the Great West, and had afforded

opportunities for acquiring land. The days of his youth had revealed a

striving nature. Strength and vigor heightened his enjoyment of activities

out of doors. Quick to profit by mistakes, he was otherwise deliberate in

thought. Not a fluent talker, he aspired to gain practical knowledge, to

acquire agreeable manners, and to excel in his undertakings.

French and Indian War

In the early 1750's, Britain and France both strove to occupy the upper

Ohio Valley. The French erected Fort Le Boeuf, at Waterford, Pa., and

seized a British post, Venango, on the Allegheny River. Alarmed by these

acts, Virginia's governor, Robert Dinwiddie, sent Washington late in 1753

on a mission to assert Britain's claim. He led a small party to Fort Le

Boeuf, where its commander stated France's determination to possess the

disputed area. Returning to Williamsburg, Washington delivered the defiant

reply. He also wrote a report which told a vivid winter's tale of

wilderness adventure that enhanced his reputation for resourcefulness and


Dinwiddie then put Washington in command of an expedition to guard an

intended British fort at the forks of the Ohio, at the present site of

Pittsburgh. En route, he learned that the French had expelled the Virginia

fort builders and were completing the works, which they named Fort

Duquesne. He advanced to Great Meadows, Pa., about 50 miles (80 km)

southeast of the fort, where he erected Fort Necessity. On May 28, 1754,

occurred one of the most disputed incidents of his career. He ambushed a

small French detachment, the commander of which, Joseph Coulon de Villiers,

sieur de Jumonville, was killed along with nine of his men. The others were

captured. This incident started the French and Indian War. The French

claimed that their detachment was on a peaceful mission; Washington thought

that it was engaged in spying. He returned to Fort Necessity, which a large

French force attacked on July 3. It fell after a day's fighting. In making

the surrender, Washington signed a paper that imputed to him the blame for

"l'assassinat" (murder) of Jumonville. Not versed in French, Washington

later explained that he had not understood the meaning of the incriminating


By the terms of the surrender, he and his men were permitted to return,

disarmed, to the Virginia settlements. The news of his defeat moved Britain

to send to Virginia an expedition under Gen. Edward Braddock, whom

Washington joined as a voluntary aide-de-camp, without command of troops.

Braddock's main force reached a point on the Monongahela River about 7

miles (11 km) southeast of Fort Duquesne where, on July 9, 1755, he

suffered a surprise attack and a defeat that ended in disordered flight.

Washington's part was that of inspiriting the men. His bravery under fire

spread his fame to nearby colonies and abroad. Dinwiddie rewarded him by

appointing him, in August, to the command of Virginia's troops, with the

rank of colonel.

His new duties excluded him from leadership in the major campaigns of the

war, the operations of which were directed by British officials who

assigned to Virginia the humdrum task of defending its inland frontiers. No

important battles were fought there. Washington drilled his rough and often

unsoldierly recruits, stationed them at frontier posts, settled disputes,

struggled to maintain order and discipline, labored to procure supplies and

to get them transported, strove to have his men paid promptly and provided

with shelter and medical care, sought support from the Virginia government,

and kept it informed. His command trained him in the management of self-

willed men, familiarized him with the leaders of Virginia, and schooled him

in the rugged politics of a vigorous society.

The French and Indian War also estranged him from the British. Thereafter,

he never expressed a feeling of affection for them. He criticized Braddock

for blaming the Virginians as a whole for the shortcomings of a few local

contractors. He also thought that Braddock was too slow in his marches. As

commander in Virginia, he resented his subordination to a British captain,

John Dagworthy, and made a trip to Boston early in 1756 in order to get

confirmation of his authority from the British commander in America. He

objected that one of his major plans was upset by ill-considered orders

from Britain, and in 1758 he disputed with British officers about the best

route for an advance to Fort Duquesne. The war ended in such a way as to

withhold from him a suitable recognition for his arduous services of nearly

six years and to leave him, if not embittered, a somewhat disappointed man.

Life at Mount Vernon

Resigning his commission late in 1758, he retired to Mount Vernon. On Jan.

6, 1759, he married Martha Dandridge, widow of Daniel Parke Custis, whose

estate included 15,000 acres (6,000 hectares) and 150 slaves. Washington

became devoted to Martha's two children by her first marriage, John Parke

Custis and Martha Custis.

As a planter, Washington concentrated at first on tobacco raising, keeping

exact accounts of costs and profits. He soon learned that it did not pay.

British laws required that his exports should be sent to Britain, sold for

him by British merchants, and carried in British ships. Also, he had to buy

in Britain such foreign finished goods as he needed. On various occasions

he complained that his tobacco was damaged on shipboard or sold in England

at unduly low prices. He thought that he was often overcharged for freight

and insurance, and he objected that British goods sent to him were

overpriced, poor in quality, injured in transit, or not the right type or

size. Unable to control buying and selling in England, he decided to free

himself from bondage to British traders. Hence he reduced his production of

tobacco and had his slaves make goods of the type he had imported,

especially cloth. He developed a fishery on the Potomac, increased his

production of wheat, and operated a mill. He sent fish, wheat, and flour to

the West Indies where he obtained foreign products or money with which to

buy them.

From the start he was a progressive farmer who promoted reforms to

eliminate soil-exhausting practices that prevailed in his day. He strove to

improve the quality of his livestock, and to increase the yield of his

fields, experimenting with crop rotation, new implements, and fertilizers.

His frequent absences on public business hindered his experiments, for they

often required his personal direction.

He also dealt in Western lands. Virginia's greatest estates, he wrote, were

made "by taking up ... at very low prices the rich back lands" which "are

now the most valuable lands we possess." His Western urge had largely

inspired his labors during the French and Indian War. At that time, Britain

encouraged settlement in the Ohio Valley as a means of gaining it from the

French. In July 1754, Governor Dinwiddie offered 200,000 acres (80,000

hectares) in the West to colonial volunteers. Washington became entitled to

one of these grants. After the war he bought claims of other veterans,

served as agent of the claimants in locating and surveying tracts, and

obtained for himself (by July 1773) 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) along the

Ohio between the Little Kanawha and Great Kanawha rivers, and 10,000 acres

on the Great Kanawha. In 1775 he sought to settle his Kanawha land with


Washington lived among neighbors who acquiesced in slavery and, if opposed

to it, saw no feasible means of doing away with it. In 1775 he endorsed a

strong indictment of the slave trade, but in 1776 he opposed the royal

governor of Virginia who had urged slaves of patriot masters to gain

freedom by running away and joining the British army to fight for the king.

When Washington was famous as a world figure he dissociated himself,

publicly, from slavery, although he continued to own many slaves. He

favored emancipation if decreed by law. In his will he ordered that his

slaves be freed after the death of Mrs. Washington.

Early Political Activity

After expelling France from North America, Britain decided to reserve most

of the Ohio Valley as a fur-producing area. By the Quebec Act (1774),

Britain detached from Virginia the land it claimed north of the Ohio River

and added it to the royal Province of Quebec. This act struck at

Washington's plans because it aimed to leave the Indians in possession of

the north bank of the Ohio, where they could menace any settlers on his

lands across the river. In April 1775 the governor of Virginia, John

Murray, 4th earl of Dunmore, canceled Washington's Kanawha claims on the

pretext that his surveyor had not been legally qualified to make surveys.

At this time, also, Britain directed Dunmore to stop granting land in the

West. Thus Washington stood to lose the fruits of his efforts during the

French and Indian War.

As a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1759 to 1774,

Washington opposed the Stamp Act, which imposed crushing taxes on the

colonies for the support of a large British army in America. Virginia, he

said, was already paying enough to Britain: its control of Virginia's trade

enabled it to acquire "our whole substance." When the Townshend Revenue Act

(1767) levied taxes on tea, paper, lead, glass, and painter's colors,

Washington pledged not to buy such articles ("paper only excepted"). By mid-

1774 he believed that British laws, such as the Boston Port Act and the

Massachusetts Government Act, showed that Britain intended to do away with

self-government in the colonies and to subject them to a tyrannical rule.

In May he joined other Virginia burgesses in proposing that a continental

congress should be held, and that a "provincial congress" be created to

take the place of the Virginia assembly, which Dunmore had disbanded.

Washington was chairman of a meeting at Alexandria in July that adopted the

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