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Thesis: George Washington was such a successful and popular leader because he was too young and inexperienced to know that he couldn't possibly defeat the largest standing army in the world, or lead a nation as president of the United States.

  1. Early Years of George Washington

    1. His Family Migrated from England to Virginia

      1. His father had a total of nine children

      2. From the ages 7 to 15 he was homeschooled in math geography Latin and English

      3. George excelled at growing tobacco, stock raising, and surveying by his early teens

    2. At age 16 George Washington traveled as a surveyor it started his early interest that the future of the nation lay in colonizing the West

    3. At 20 years old he became the head of the prominent estate Mt. Vernon

      1. He believed farming was one of the most honorable professions

      2. He increased his landholdings to 8000 acres

  2. Washington was a natural leader very young

    1. French military began occupying the Ohio Valley

      1. Was appointed Major in the Virginia militia by Virginia's Lt. Gov.

        1. Was sent to warn the French to leave land claimed by Britain the French said no

        2. Washington went back with troops attacked the French killing the commander and nine others it was the start of the French met Indian war

        3. The French attacked and drove Washington back in Washington surrendered

        4. He was embarrassed he was captured when he got back he

  3. Given the rank of colonel and joined British Gen. Edward Braddock's Army in Virginia in 1755

    1. Fought the French in 1755 he was made commander of all Virginia troops he was 23

    2. Then he was sent to the front tier to patrol 400 miles of border

      1. He had 700 undisciplined colonial troops at the border

      2. The Virginia colonial legislature did not want to support him

      3. He got dysentery in 1757 and went home

      4. He retired from his Virginia Regiment in December 1758

    3. He learned a lot about being frustrated during the French Indian war

      1. He felt decisions were made excessively slowly

      2. There was no support from the colonial legislature

      3. The colonial troops were poorly trained

      4. He applied for a commission with the British Army but was turned down. They would learn to regret this decision

  4. George Washington marries Martha a very wealthy widow

    1. he devoted his time to his land holdings and became even more wealthy

    2. he rotated crops keeping up with the latest scientific advances

    3. he was known for working on his own farm performing manual labor with his workers

      1. He had over 100 slaves

      2. He's said he disliked the institution but accepted the fact that slavery was the law

  5. Elected to Virginia's House of Burgesses in 1758

    1. Townshend Acts in 1767

      1. He was still opposed to the colonies declaring independence

      2. He was opposed to resisting violations by the crown for the rights of Englishmen in the acts

        1. Used a resolution in the house of Burgesses calling for Virginia to boycott British goods until the acts were repealed

        2. He stood firm even though it did not really affect him

    2. Intolerable Acts 1774

      1. Chaired a meeting Fairfax Resolves calling for convening of Continental Congress

        1. Continental Congress approved the use of armed resistance as a last resort against the British

        2. He was selected as delegate to the first Continental Congress in March 1775

  6. First Continental Congress March 1775 he was selected as a delegate

    1. battle of Lexington and Concorde 1775

    2. the political dispute had turned into an armed conflict

  7. Second Continental Congress

    1. He dressed in a military uniform to the Congress indicating he was prepared for war

    2. He was appointed Maj. Gen. and commander-in-chief of the colonial forces against Great Britain

      1. He did not ask for this commission

      2. He did not have any competition for the commission

        1. He had pressed each of being very wealthy

        2. He had military experience

        3. He had charisma

        4. He was from Virginia and it was the largest British colony and considered southern

    3. He was not necessarily the best choice for the job

      1. His training and experience were in front tier warfare with small numbers of soldiers

      2. The British used an open field style of battle and he had never done that

      3. He didn't have experience moving artillery, Cauvery, or large formations of infantry

  8. The Revolutionary War

    1. Washington had early victory

      1. March 1776 he placed his heavy artillery above Boston on Dorchester Heights and the British retreated

      2. He then moved to streets into New York City

    2. Washington fights bloody war

      1. The largest British force that had ever been sent out to date arrived in the colonies and quickly took New York city in the largest battle of the war

      2. Washington's Army lost handily and 2800 men had to surrender

      3. His Army retreated across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania

        1. commander William Howe wintered his troops at Trenton and Princeton because he was overconfident

        2. Washington crossed the Delaware River and attacked the unsuspecting mercenaries from Germany called the Hessians at Trenton

        3. Washington attacked the British again at Princeton

        4. the British were playing from a playbook Washington didn't seem to own

        5. His strategy of fighting then running away was very successful

      4. Battle of Brandywine

        1. British forces went into Philadelphia George Washington moved his army to defend the city and was defeated

        2. Philadelphia fell to the British

      5. The British sent troops South from Québec to Saratoga

        1. list dratted she backfired because the English troops were trapped by the American armies at the battle of Saratoga

        2. General Howe could not reach them in time and England surrendered their entire 6200 man army

        3. This was a major turning point of the war because France open fully became the United States ally

        4. Howe had belief that if he captured major cities he would win but colonial forces just met elsewhere

        5. Again this is another example of George Washington not following the rules and coming out on top

      6. Winter of 1777 at Valley Forge Pennsylvania

        1. 11,000 and colonial forces bunker down for the winter

        2. Thousands die from disease

      7. British Army evacuated Philadelphia to return to New York City

        1. Washington attacked the moving Army

        2. This proved Washington's Army capable of open field battle

      8. George Washington had the British confined in New York

    3. Alliance with France brought a large French army and a French naval fleet

      1. Washington and the French attacked British general Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown Virginia

        1. French had a fleet of 29 warships

        2. October 19, 1781 Cornwallis surrendered his forces

        3. There were still British troops occupying the York city Charleston and Savannah and warships in the colonies


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  10. The End of the Revolutionary War

    1. 1782 the French army and French Navy has left

    2. The Continental treasury was broke

    3. Most of the soldiers hadn't been paid for years

    4. George Washington convinced Congress to grant a five-year bonus for soldiers in March 1783

    5. Washington said goodbye to his troops on December 23, 1783

      1. He resigned and returned to Mount Vernon

  11. The Years after the Revolutionary War

    1. George Washington returned to Mount Vernon.

      1. His plantation was in disrepair

      2. The war had cost him a lot of money because he couldn't export goods and there was a depreciation of paper money

      3. He got a land grant from Congress for his military service and his property became profitable

      4. He tried to be a gentleman farmer for four years

  12. The presidency of the United States

    1. Nation struggling with Articles of Confederation

      1. The structure of government centered power within the states

      2. That the states were not unified and they fought amongst themselves for boundaries and navigation rights

      3. They refuse to contribute to paying off the nation's war debt

      4. State legislatures imposed tax policies on their own citizens but sometimes it makes sense

    2. Shays rebellion

      1. Erupted in Massachusetts

      2. It convinced Washington it was time to help a nation come together because something needed to be done to improve

    3. 1786 Congress held a convention in Philadelphia to amend the articles of Confederation it was called the constitutional convention

    4. Washington was unanimously chosen as president he was chosen over James Madison and Alexander Hamilton

    5. They decided amendments were not needed but a new constitution that would give the national government more authority

      1. He only spoke once during the convention but he lobbied behind the scenes with fellow delegates for major changes in the structure of government

      2. The convention produced a plan for government

    6. Washington's reputation and support for the new government were very important to the constitutions ratification

      1. Many leading political figures were against it like Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams

      2. In Washington's Virginia the Constitution was ratified by only one vote

    7. During the presidential election of 1789 he got every vote from every electoral college he's the only president in American history to be elected by unanimous vote

      1. Washington knew that his presidency would set a precedent for all the other presidents to come

      2. He tried hard not to seem like a European King with the royal court

        1. He preferred the title Mr. President

        2. He declined the $25,000 salary because he was wealthy and he wanted to protect his image

        3. He was a public servant and he didn't need the money

        4. He appointed Alexander Hamilton a secretary of the treasury

        5. He appointed Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State

        6. He delegated authority

        7. He listened to advice before making decisions. Listen to the advice of his cabinet

        8. He had high integrity any exercise power with restraint and honesty

        9. Wanted to establish an ideal by which all of the presidents would be judged

        10. Reduced the nation's debt and placed its finances on the right track

        11. Made peace treaties with Native American tribes he approved

        12. a bill established the nations capital and a permanent district along the Potomac River

  13. Not Everything Was Perfect during His Presidency

    1. In 1791 he signed a bill authorizing Congress to place a tax on distilled spirits this was known as a wispy rebellion the protests that turned into a full-scale defiance of the federal law

      1. He went through the militia act of 1792 asking local militias from several states to put down the rebellion

      2. Washington took command marching the troops into the areas of rebellion and demonstrating that the federal government would use force when necessary to enforce the law

    2. France and Great Britain were again at war

      1. 1794 he sent John Jay to Britain and negotiated the Jay Treaty to secure peace with Britain

      2. Thomas Jefferson supported the French made him mad

    3. Washington mobilized public support for the treaty

    4. The treaty worked and benefited the US by removing British forts along the Western front tier established a clear boundary between Canada and the US and to delete a war with Britain and providing over a decade of trade and development in the country that they desperately needed

    5. There were many factions inside the White House Alexander Hamilton wanted a strong national government and segregate Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson wanted to keep government small and center power at the local level

    6. People who followed Hamilton called Federalists and people who followed Jeffersons called Democratic Republicans

    7. Washington didn't like having two political parties

    8. Some people accused him of conducting himself like a king

      1. He rented the best houses and had a coach drawn by four horses

      2. He started only seeing people by appointment

  14. Conclusion

    1. George Washington was commander-in-chief of the colonial armies during the American Revolution and later became the first president of the United States. He was so successful because he was too young and too stupid to realize that he couldn't possibly be this successful. If you had more life experience and had found things that he didn't excel at perhaps you'd be too frightened or scared to even attempt the incredible things he managed to accomplish. We should all be thrilled that he was too young and dumb to know better.

Sources

His Excellency George Washington by Joseph J Ellis ISBN 140-004-0310

Washington A Life by Ron Chernow ISBN 9781594202667

The Warriors and Wordsmiths Of Freedom by Linda McDonald Lewis ISBN 190630727X

Inventing a Nation Washington, Adams, Jefferson by Gore Vidal ISBN 0300101716

Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer ISBN 0195170342