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 Addressing Congress

George Washington
Addressing Congress
The Mount Vernon
Ladies’ Association
1788 After ratification by the ninth state, a federal government is born. Electors from every state unanimously chose Washington to be the first President.
In a letter to a friend he writes: “In confidence I can assure you—with the world, it would obtain little credit—that my movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to his place of execution.”

1790 Congress moves the capital from New York to Philadelphia for ten years. After that, the federal government is to move to a permanent site on the Potomac River selected by Washington, who is trusted by both North and South.
1791 Washington proclaims that the new capital will be along the Potomac, from Georgetown, MD, to the north and Alexandria, VA, to the south. A Maryland newspaper promptly calls the proposed capital “The City of Washington.”
Washington commissions a French engineer, Major Pierre L'Enfant, to design the city.
Plan for the city of Washington, 1793

Plan for the city of Washington, 1793
Library of Congress
1792 Washington is unanimously reelected to a second term.
1794 Washington marshals an armed Federal force to put down the Whiskey Rebellion—a revolt, centered in Pennsylvania, against a tax on a major state export. He sees his action as a key test of the executive branch’s right to back federal laws with force.
“If the laws are to be trampled upon with impunity,” he writes, “and a minority (a small one too) is to dictate to the majority, there is an end put, at one stroke, to republican government.”

1795 Washington, in a rare political battle, fights successfully for Senate ratification of Jay’s Treaty, which is aimed at settling post-Revolution issues between America and England and asserting U.S. neutrality in conflict between England and revolutionary France.
1796 Washington, who declined a third term, writes his Farewell Address, urging his fellow citizens—“Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western”—to “properly estimate the immense value of your national Union.”
1799 After less than three years of retirement in his beloved Mount Vernon, Washington dies there on December 14 of a throat infection. His last words are “’Tis well.” In his will, he frees his slaves, numbering about 300, upon Martha’s death.


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