Each volume in the new American Presidents Reference Series is organized around an individual presidency and gathers a host of biographical, analytical, and primary source historical material that will analyze the presidency and bring the president, his administration, and his times to life. The series focuses on key moments in U.S. political history as seen through the eyes of the most influential presidents to take the oath of office. Unique headnotes provide the context to data, tables and excerpted primary source documents.
George Washington, born in 1732, was the first president under the Constitution of the United States. In 1753 he began his military career as a major in the Virginia militia. In 1755 he was appointed aide-de-camp to Major General Edward Braddock, under whom he fought in the French and Indian War. Three years later Washington resigned his post to seek election to the Virginia House of Burgesses, where he served for nine years. He was also a Virginia delegate to the First Continental Convention. On June 16, 1775, Washington accepted a commission as the commanding general of the Continental army. His skills as a multifaceted leader military, political, inspirational eventually led to the British defeat, the signing of the Treaty of Paris in September 1783, and Washington's retirement. However, in 1787 he agreed to serve as a delegate to the constitutional convention. Presidential electors unanimously elected Washington president in 1789.
Key events during his two terms of office were the enactment of the Bill of Rights, Washington's commitment to neutrality in his foreign policies, and the ongoing debate about the role of the national government as championed by ardent opponents in Washington's administration: the Democratic-Republican Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and the Federalist Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Washington established the tradition of the two-term presidency when he retired. George Washington died on December 14, 1799.
This new volume of the presidency of George Washington will cover:
- His military exploits before, during, and after the American Revolution,
- His inspirational role during the constitutional convention,
- The Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian political perspectives,
- Foreign affairs, American neutrality, and the Jay Treaty of 1795,
- Washington's legacy on American democracy.