George Washington
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There is one reward that nothing can deprive me of, and that is the consciousness of having done my duty with the strictest rectitude and most scrupulous exactness. -George Washington to Lund Washington, Morristown, May 19, 1780

George Washington, America’s first celebrity, began to make a name for himself as a young soldier. His renown soared when he led the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War. Fame and duty summoned him again in1789, when he was elected President of the new nation. Poets hailed him as a Greek god and artists portrayed him as a Roman hero, complete with toga. When he died in 1799, a congressman summed up Washington’s life in a phrase reechoed by every American generation: “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
Engraving of George Washington's Birthplace, published by Currier and Ives

Engraving of George Washington's Birthplace, published by Currier and Ives
Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
1732 George Washington is born at Wakefield Farm, Westmoreland County, in the British colony of Virginia.
1748 With little formal schooling, he takes up surveying, working for Lord Thomas Fairfax, a wealthy Virginia landowner. He later lays out Belhaven (now Alexandria, VA) and becomes a county surveyor.
1751 On the only trip he ever makes outside of the United States, he accompanies his half-brother, Lawrence, to Barbados, where he was stricken with smallpox. He survives, but his face is permanently scarred.
1752 Lawrence dies, as does his infant daughter. When Lawrence’s wife dies, George inherits Lawrence’s Potomac River plantation, Mount Vernon, and becomes master of more than a dozen slaves. An outdoorsman and member of the Virginia gentry, he can camp under a threadbare blanket “with double its Weight of Vermin”—and dance quite well at a ball.


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