George Washington Biography
George Washington's biography. An account of the not so glamourous road to the presidency taken by the first man elected to the office, George Washington.
Born on February 22, 1732 to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington, George Washington grew up on various tobacco farms and was taught basic schooling by tutors. As an early teen George copied into a notebook “Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation," which includes admonishments such as do not sleep when others are talking and brush your clothes at least once a day. This advice would come in handy as George had very little guidance in his teen years. His father died when George was eleven and his mother had her hands full with his brothers and sisters. George traveled a bit as a young adult and enjoyed staying at his half brother's home, the famous Mt. Vernon.
George was studying to be a surveyor when his brother took ill and so did George. George survived the illness but his brother passed away, so George decided to give up surveying and take his brother's place in the Army. It didn’t take long until Washington’s endurance and bravery as a soldier earned him promotions and recognition.
On January 6, 1759, George married Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow with two small children. Martha had money and owned a good bit of property and for a while they shared some peacetime happiness in Mt. Vernon. Washington prospered and with the help of his family, and the slaves he owned, Mt. Vernon became a famous mansion.
The years of peace were interrupted with the cry of “No Taxation without Representatation” when the British began to attempt to pay debts by taxing colonists on imported items. At age 43, George was nominated by John Adams to command the Continental Army. During the Revolution, George would see lice infested, frozen men existing on nothing but hope awaiting his orders.
Peace time left these brave men coming home penniless and out of work. Some cried out for George to continue to lead them by declaring himself King. Instead of creating a monarchy in the US, George finally returned to his beloved Mt. Vernon. He spent his days having his portraits painted, which brings up the question of the “wooden teeth”.
In many early portraits, Washington is shown with his lips pressed tightly together. It is because he had indeed lost most of his teeth, and in his later years he did have false teeth made from hippopotomas tusks.
Washington watched the birth of the early nation and was fearful and reluctant that he may be elected to the new office of “president” by the electoral college. He was said to have likened the waiting for the election results to a man going to his execution, although he desperately wanted to help his country. During his inaugural speech in New York, the temporary Capital, George Washington’s voice was shaky and soft. The he walked up Broadway. It was in this simple way this farmer ushered in a tradition of the office of United States President.