How did George Washington help in the Revolutionary War?

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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He was originally appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army for two reasons. First, he was from the South and most of the leaders of the Revolutionary War were from the North. Thus his appointment helped bind the colonies together in a mutual cause. secondly, Washington did not appear to have any political ambitions and would pose no threat to the new government. His task was monumental. He had to report to a Congress that was often divided and states that were often quarreling among themselves. Often the needs of the Continental army were lost in all the bickering. They were facing the most powerful navy and one of the most powerful armies in the world. There was no real system for making weapons, clothing or other supplies that were desperately needed on the front lines. Despite all of these handicaps, Washington put together an army that could at least put up a good fight against the British. It was a long, hard war and Washington was probably the only man who could have held the forces together. They finally got their chance at a major victory when the French, who sensed the British were beginning to weaken, sent ships to bottle up the British fleet at Yorktown, New York and Washington's troops surrounded the British on the land. The British were forced to surrender and victory against the British was assured. The British were so surprised by Washington's victory, that their band played "The World Turned Upside Down" as the British surrender was arranged.

enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

Washington's choice as commander of the Continental Army was a wise one.  Being from Virginia, the most populous colony in the day not only served to involve the southern colonies, but his experience as a Virginian militia leader during the French and Indian War served to give him practical backwoods war techniques.  The other option presented for the office of commander was John Hancock, a wealthy merchant with little combat experience.  Although John Adams, like Hancock, was from the north, he actively supported Washington's appointment, because he was the best man for the job.  A little known aspect of Washington's command was his establishment of an extensive spy network to gather intelligence on the British.  Keeping the intelligence edge kept the tiny American forces one step ahead; additionally, he began a "disinformation" campaign to steer the British wrong on American troop strength and movements.  His experience as a former British officer indeed served him well in the American Cause. 

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