George Washington (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: As commander in chief of the Continental army during the American Revolution, as president of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and as first president of the United States, Washington was the principal architect of the nation’s independence and its federal political system.
Born on February 11 (February 22, New Style), 1732, into a family of middling standing among Virginia’s planter elite, George Washington was the eldest son of his father’s second marriage. A favorite of his half brother Lawrence Washington of Mount Vernon, young George capitalized on this brother’s marriage into the prominent Fairfax family and the inheritance of Lawrence Washington’s estate. Thus, despite his losing his father at age eleven and his being a low-priority heir to his father’s lands, he was by his mid-twenties able to achieve greater prominence both in estate and position than his ancestors.
His connections allowed him to succeed Lawrence Washington as a major and adjutant of militia in 1752, and the following year he carried a message from Virginia’s governor to the French forces encroaching on Virginia-claimed lands in the upper Ohio valley. In 1754, Lieutenant Colonel Washington surrendered a small Virginia detachment under his...
(The entire section is 2245 words.)
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George Washington (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Washington led American troops throughout the American Revolution, overcoming many disadvantages to secure independence for the colonies.
Virginian George Washington served in the French and Indian War (1754-1763), fighting at Monongahela (1755) and Fort Duquesne (1758). He was a gentleman farmer and politician before being named commander in chief by the Second Continental Congress at the outset of the American Revolution in 1775. Washington would lead American troops for the duration of the conflict. He had to overcome many obstacles, including the numerically superior British regulars and Hessian mercenaries, inexperienced American troops, a lack of equipment for his army during the early stages of the war, and weather extremes. Washington, a dignified yet passionate man, inspired his troops through his firm yet fair leadership, by his talents in judging the abilities of his officers, and by his unwavering commitment to the cause of freedom. His efforts fostered unity amid frequent adversity.
Though Washington committed tactical mistakes and lost more battles than he won, he made notable contributions to military strategy. First, he was not afraid to experiment...
(The entire section is 482 words.)