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Smith 1
Morgan Smith
AP United States History
Mr. Howard/ B Channel
29 October 2012
George Washington’s Lasting Effect on The United States The lifestyle in early America was not easy for any American; non-stop tension between European countries and early America did not make anything easy for the infantile country. What the new country needed was a leader that could lead America to a successful future and finally cut ties with their mother country, Great Britain. This leader would soon be George Washington, a beloved man and a key player in the American Revolution. Washington led the Continental Army in a victory over the most powerful nation in the world at that time, and seeing this victory made electing him as the first president of The United States of America an easy choice. George Washington’s time office has forever changed the history of America with his influential presidency. He created a comfortable base of government that has lasted for hundreds of years, kept America peaceful in at an essential time and successfully established and enforced laws. Coming into office George Washington knew that the best results could not be achieved over night; he did not expect everything to work out in the first couple months, he knew it would take years to fix this dysfunctional country (Flexner, 548). What George Washington did in office during the time of his presidency has impacted the way America has functioned for over 200 years now. On the agenda was talk about strengthening the country and the Washington’s cabinet. The confederation government was not a well-functioning government. The powers were inadequate to maintain respect for American shippers and merchants overseas, to protect Smith 2 the frontier against attacks by British fur trading and plundering Indians, or to restrain the states from engaging in economic retaliation against each other (Freidel, 17). In order for the United States to be successful Washington needed to fix these problems to strengthen the newly formed country. One man couldn’t do this all by himself and Washington knew this. Knowing this he went to select individuals for advice on what should be done for the nation; soon these individuals were called Washington’s cabinet (Freidel, 20). Washington supposedly “stacked” his office with federalist minds in order to keep the Constitution favorable (Bailey, 269). He was not wrong for doing so; if the Constitution was not kept favorable the nation would be drastically different than it is today. Keeping peace between the United States and the European countries was completely essential to the young country. Great Britain’s iron clad hold on American pre-Revolution drove them to the American Revolution and the tensions after winning their independence was an all-time high. In order to keep the United States in a peaceful state, the nation had to stay out of all international affairs. George Washington led America in a peaceful direction, keeping clear from any external conflicts that could have potentially wounded the newly born country. At the time of Washington’s presidency the French Revolution was breaking out, and America was expected to help the French because they were such a huge contributor in the American Revolution. Even though his Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, was pro-French and his Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, was pro-British, Washington kept the United States out of the French Revolution (Freidel, 22). Washington believed that is the United States stayed peaceful for twenty years; the nation could become powerful enough to take on anything or anyone (Freidel, 22). Thanks to Washington’s outstanding efforts, the country did stay out of the French’s affairs Smith3 and did gain those twenty years of peace. George Washington always tried to stay above the party lines; putting the interests of the nation above ideological and factionary concern like the Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians (Fitzpatrick, 71). The Hamiltonians and Jeffersonians played a huge role in the way Washington kept the country economically sound in a hard time. After the American Revolution, the infantile country was in a major crisis; anything and everything that could be done to raise them out of debt. George Washington’s two closest men in his cabinet, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, had very different views on what the country should be like and do in the essential time in its growth. Alexander Hamilton and his followers, called Hamiltonians, wanted a strong central government with powers that were clearly superior to and corrective of the states. They also wanted to expand to an industrialized society, much like Great Britain. A major concern of theirs was to form a national union with a centralized leadership powerful enough to compete with large countries such as France and Great Britain (Fitzpatrick, 69). Thomas Jefferson and his “Jeffersonians” believed that there was a need for maintaining the political liberties that were fought for in the Revolution. They did not want to end up like Great Britain. Instead of being an industrialized country like Great Britain, the Jeffersonians would much rather be an agrarian country; every person would have a large plot of land with a “perfect” farm. Also, the states’ rights would be higher than the central governments (Fitzpatrick, 69). When Washington accepted presidency, he did with great hesitation because he knew how difficult it would be to get American on the right path (Fitzpatrick, 69). He tended to side with Hamilton and his ideas. So when Hamilton proposed his economic plan Washington quickly latched on. Hamilton’s first plan was to pay off all of the state’s debts, and to raise money for this to sell bonds. Investors could potentially create great profits from this when it was Smith4 time for the United States to pay off the bonds (ushistory.org, para 6). Also, Hamilton proposed the new idea, the first Bank of the United States based off of the Bank of England with a central currency. Many people feared it would not work, but with George Washington’s support it thrived (ushistory.org, para 7). Another area of Hamilton’s plan focused on the United States adopting a mercantilist economic policy. This would protect the American manufactures through government handouts and tariffs on goods imported from Britain (ushistory.org, para 10). Although George Washington did not devise this brilliant economic plan, with his support it fell through and became very successful. If Hamilton and Washington did not see eye to eye on this plan, America’s history could have been potentially very different then it is today. George Washington is considered to be the nation’s most beloved President, with the nation’s capital named after him, his face carved onto Mount Rushmore, his birthday a national holiday and countless other ideas all in honor of his great leadership (Fitzpatrick, 53). Washington was a great leader to the Continental Army during a time of great need. With the American’s winning the American Revolution with great help from Washington, it was only just to elect him the first President of the United States of America. Although he accepted the presidency with great hesitation, he put America on track for the country it is today. In George Washington’s time as President of the United States of America he successfully showed Americans as well as the British that the newly born country would be able to thrive once on the right track. Washington impacted the way America has run for the past 200 years, kept the country out of external affairs at a very crucial time and set the nation’s economic pace in the right direction allowing it to grow and become the country it is today.

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