George Washington, the first President of the United States was a man of integrity and was highly honored in the country for his deep sense of duty and patriotism. He was strongly against discrimination or nepotism. He disliked taking undue advantage of his power. He has always stood as an example of republican virtue in America.
✦ George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Virginia. He was born to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington. He was an Episcopalian by religion. He was the first mason to serve as a President.
✦ In 1759, Washington wedded Martha Dandridge Custis.
✦ In 1775, George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the American Revolutionary Forces. He commanded the Continental Army as a four-star general.
✦ George Washington received all the 69 electoral votes cast and became the only President to be elected unanimously. Interestingly, he was not a member of any political party. Rather, he disliked the idea of political parties.
✦ On April 30, 1789, George Washington took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. He gave his inaugural speech before the members of both houses of Congress. His speech was about 2,000 words long. He began his second term of Presidency with an inaugural address of just about 135 words.
✦ Washington was one of two Presidents who signed the U.S. Constitution.
✦ He preferred being called Mr. President over any of the glamorous names that he was offered. He wanted to be a public servant. He refused to accept the salary he was eligible for, as a President.
✦ In 1793, he announced the Proclamation of Neutrality, as a step towards avoiding foreign conflicts. By means of the Jay Treaty in 1795, he started a decade of peace with Britain.
✦ He died on December 14, 1799 in Mount Vernon, Virginia at the age of 67. After his death he was posthumously promoted to the position of General of the Armies of Congress. He was the only president who died in the 1700s.
✦ Congress had planned to have a marble monument constructed in the United States Capitol, for the burial of George Washington's body. They even had an appropriations bill passed for the same. But, it was finally decided that his body would be buried in Mount Vernon.
✦ George Washington was 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 200 pounds. He wore shoes of size 13. He had red hair when young. He used to tie them in a line.
✦ His father and elder brother taught George. He did not attend any college. His elder half brother home-schooled him.
✦ There's a well-known story about his childhood that says, George Washington had once cut down his father's cherry tree. When asked about it, he had admitted his mistake saying that he wouldn't be able to tell a lie.
✦ His favorite dishes included cream of peanut soup and string beans with mushrooms. He loved ice cream. He had ice cream coolers installed in his house.
✦ He helped plan the new capital city, which was given his name. But he never lived in that city. He used to commute by a boat from Mount Vernon to Washington D.C.
✦ Fox hunting and fishing were Washington's favorite sports. His grandson reported that George Washington once threw a piece of slate across the 250 feet wide river Rappahannock.
✦ Before dying George Washington said to his doctor and friend, "Doctor, I die hard, but I am not afraid to go. I believed, from my first attack, that I should not survive it. My breath cannot last long." His last words were, "Tis well."
✦ Washington left no direct descendant. He did not have any children of his own. His stepdaughter Pasty Custis died of epilepsy in 1773. His stepson Jackie Custis died of meningitis. Washington personally witnessed both these deaths.
✦ Looking at the sequence of events in his life, Washington seems to have had a strange connection with 'Friday'! He was born on a Friday. He was commissioned lieutenant colonel in the military on a Friday and was elected President of the Constitutional convention also on a Friday.
✦ Today Washington's image is a National symbol for the United States. His picture appeared on a dollar note. He was the first President to come on a postage stamp. His bust has been carved in Mount Rushmore. The state of Washington, which has his name, is the only state to be named after an American.
Fun Facts and Trivia
✦ George Washington used to snore loudly.
✦ He frequently got confused with spellings having letters 'i' and 'e'. He is reported to have had an IQ of 125. He did his own book keeping.
✦ At the time of his inauguration, George Washington had only one tooth. All his teeth were pulled by the time he was the President. Many times he wore dentures. He is said to have taken long to read his inaugural speech and that was because of his false teeth.
✦ He had six white horses in his stable. He had their teeth brushed everyday. He bred hound dogs and gave them strange names.
✦ George Washington's family had thought him dead in the war at Monongahela. The family members also assumed he had made a dying speech. On knowing this, Washington had written to his brother that he wasn't dead and that he had not composed a dying speech till then!
✦ In one of his plans for assault in 1775-76, Washington had called upon the soldiers to glide across the frozen span of Boston Harbor and attack the British. The plan was not practicable and had to be discarded.
These facts about George Washington reveal the versatile interests he had and tell you more about the kind of person he was. Modest that he was, even in the President's shoes, he chose to be a common man.