George Washington Biography
George Washington was called the father of his country. George Washington was also the first president to appear on a postage stamp.
George Washington was born in Pope's Creek, Virginia on February 22, 1732. George Washington was the United States first President. His Vice President was John Adams. His wife Martha, was First Lady.
In the years after the American Revolution, George Washington became so popular, that some people wanted to make him King.
George wanted no part of this: he didn't even want to be President. But, the new nation that he had helped to create needed him.
When the electoral college met for the first time in January 1789, George Washington was the clear choice of the electors. But the retired general was still reluctant to serve, a fact that probably helped him win.
If there had to be a President, people thought, it should be someone who did not want the job. When the vote for president was taken, Washington was the unanimous vote.
When George Washington became president, his first task was to appoint people to head each of the four executive departments.
At first, Washington asked each of his four department heads to meet him separately. Eventually, the president came up with a better way. In late 1791, he instructed the secretaries to meet with him as a single group. This group became known as the Cabinet.
One of the most important issues faced by the cabinet during Washington's first term was public debt owed by the states. The problem with paying off the states' debts was that the constitution had not given the federal government the power to do so. On the other hand, the constitution had not specifically withheld the power, either. With this argument, the Doctrine of Implied Powers was born.
In 1792, not a single elector cast a vote against George Washington. Washington was elected for his second term, again, unanimously. Washington was the only president ever to be elected unanimously.
John Adams received the second highest total, so he became Washington's vice president.
America's foreign policy was first tested during Washington's second term. In April 1793, knowing it would be best to stay out of the European War, Washington issued the Proclamation of Neutrality. In it, he advised the states to remain friendly with both sides, but he also warned them against smuggling weapons and other contraband, which might pull the United States into the war.
Although, Washington was very successful in keeping the United States out of the war, he was much quicker to use military force at home. An important example was the Whiskey Rebellion.In 1791, Congress ordered a tax on whiskey. This tax outraged farmers who made whiskey from their extra corn. Some people in the countryside even used whiskey for money.
When federal officers tried to collect the whiskey tax in western Pennsylvania, farmers there rebelled. When the governor refused to punish the farmers and collect the tax himself, the problem became a national one. Because the Whiskey rebellion represented a direct and immediate challenge to the authority of the national government, Washington decided to form a volunteer army to enforce the law. In fact,the incident never posed a serious military threat. Most of the rebels turned and ran when they saw Washington's army coming. But, the incident was an important test of the new government. In putting down the Whiskey Rebellion, Washington proved that the federal government had the power to enforce its laws.
George Washington announced his retirement in his farewell address, which was published on September 19, 1796.