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George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. His parents were Augustine Washington (1694-1743) and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington (1708-89). Mary gave birth at his family's plantation on Pope's Creek in Westmoreland County, in the British colony of Virginia. After Washington's father had passed away when he was about 11, it's likely that he helped his mother manage the plantation. By the late 1760s, Washington had experienced firsthand the effects of rising taxes imposed on American colonists by the British, and came to believe that it was in the best interests of the colonists to declare independence from England. Washington served as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1774 in Philadelphia. By the time the Second Continental Congress convened a year later, the American Revolution had begun in earnest, and Washington was named commander in chief of the army. Washington proved to be a better general than military strategist. His strength lay not only in his genius on the battlefield but in his ability to keep the struggling colonial army together. His troops were poorly trained and lacked food, ammunition and other supplies (soldiers sometimes even went without shoes in winter). However, Washington was able to give them the direction and motivation to keep going with his great and boundless leadership. In 1796, after two terms as President and declining to serve a third term, Washington finally retired. In his farewell address, he urged the new nation to maintain the highest standards domestically and to keep involvement with foreign powers to a minimum. The address is still read each February in the U.S. Senate to commemorate Washington's birthday. Washington left one of the most enduring legacies of any American in history. He is famous for not only the first President of the United States, but for his leadership Known as the "Father of His Country," his face appears on the U.S. dollar bill and quarter, and hundreds of U.S. schools and...
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