George Washington was the first leader of the United States; he was a leader in the military for the French and Indian War, and the American Revolution. While a lot is known about his accomplishments it seems more like destiny and/or fate for his place in history. His upbringing and military battles all are more associated with luck than skill. Discussed in the following is a history and story of an unlikely leader.
Washington left behind a undeniable record of military and political achievement. He was not a great field commander, but he learned from his mistakes. Politically, he proved remarkably intelligent at understanding the will of Congress. As a human being, Washington's legacy is more complex. The Early Years
George Washington was born on the February 22, 1732 in Virginia. Washington had no formal education. Unlike his brothers he was never sent to England for schooling and a higher education. Instead he received a grammar school education in Virginia. George Washington’s brother Lawrence married into Virginia’s largest single landowner family the Fairfax’s. Washington’s connection by his brothers’ marriage gave him a privilege that he would otherwise not have had. Accompanying George Fairfax on an expedition into the wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains, allowed a young George Washington to learn about surveying (3). Washington put his newly acquired surveying skills to profitable use. By the time he turned 18, he was earning more money from surveying than he could as a farmer. Ambitious, knowing that surveying and would not bring the wealth are social standing he sought, Washington decided to try for a military career. He applied for a commission in the Virginia colonial militia. Washington, by using his connection to the Fairfax’s was made a major and charged with training militia in Southern Virginia. At this point in his life, George Washington at the age of 21 years decided to join the Freemasons. In 1753, the governor of Canada announced that France exclusively owned the Ohio Valley territory. George Washington volunteered to carry a message to the French military commander in the Ohio Valley warning the French to withdraw. Again due to his connections and by his surveying skills young Washington got the mission. Upon delivery, the French commander rejected the letter and quickly sent Washington packing. During the trip back to Virginia Washington was nearly killed twice, once by French Indians and lastly by the bitter cold. Washington's skirmishes with the French in 1754 night have been considered minor colonial events in normal times. Now that passions had been aroused, they were the only sparks needed to ignite an international conflict. At age 22, George Washington personally started what quickly became a world war. Early Military Career
Washington was promoted to lieutenant colonel and second in command to the building of a fort in the Ohio Valley. En-route to the forts construction site Washington allowed himself to be persuaded to attack a small French force. It was not a force but a delegation with an ambassador. Washington decided to retreat to a nearby meadow and built up a basic defense, aptly named Fort Necessity (4). The lack of provisions and unraveling discipline in the men forced Washington to surrender; the first and only time he surrendered his military career. Washington had to sign an agreement that he and his men would not fight for a year; in the agreement it was written that Washington assassinated the ambassador. Washington would argue that he misunderstood the agreement and completely denied the charge. This catastrophe marked the opening round of the French and Indian War (1754-63). In February 1755, Washington joined a campaign to attack the French fort. He was only an observer, not attending in a military capacity. The British formation of some 2000 soldiers was lined up like cars in heavy traffic....
References: Davis, K. (2008). America’s Hidden History. New York, N.Y.: HarperCollins
Ramsay, D. (2009). Life of George Washington, The. (Reprint ed.) Salt Lake City, Utah: Editorium
(1) Author Unk. (n.d.) George Washington and the American Revolution. Retrieved January 15, 2011, from http://www.buzzle.com/articles/george-washington-and-the-american-revolution.html
(2) Author Unk. (n.d.) George Washington. Retrieved January 15, 2011, from, http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/georgewashington
(3) Author Unk. (n.d.) George Washington: A National Treasure. Retrieved January 15, 2011, from http://www.georgewashington.si.edu/life/chronology.html
(4) Author Unk. (n.d.) George Washington: A National Treasure. Retrieved January 15, 2011, from http://www.georgewashington.si.edu/life/chrono_military.html
(5) Author Unk. (n.d.) George Washington: A National Treasure. Retrieved January 15, 2011, from http://www.georgewashington.si.edu/life/chrono_civilian.html
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