IntroductionGeorge Washington was the first and probably still the most revered of the U.S. presidents. A member of the economic and political elite of the English mainland colonies, he exhibited many of the moral qualities of this colonial elite: he was not personally ambitious and he had a strong sense of duty. He was, like a dozen other leading figures in U.S. history, the right person in the right place at the right time. Without Washington the American war for independence might not have succeeded. Without him the Constitution might never have gained enough support to be ratified. Finally, without Washington the country would never have had a living model for what was meant by "civic virtue" and service to the new nation. Washington's greatest contribution to the nation was simply the fact that a large portion of the U.S. population trusted him. In trusting him, they could begin to trust themselves and thus create the conditions of a viable representative democracy. George Washington Biography
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