George Washington was elected as the first President of the US (April 30, 1789) - History Key

George Washington was elected as the first President of the US (April 30, 1789)

George Washington is the first president of the United States. He was a military commander and a politician, designated in 1787 as the President of the Constitutional Convention which led developing the fundamental law of the United States. On April 30, 1789 he is unanimously elected by the Electoral College as the first President of the US.

Briefly, his early life

George Washington by Rembrandt Peale
George Washington by Rembrandt Peale, De Young Museum (ca. 1850) © Image Source: Wikipedia

George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland, Virginia. When he was just 17 years old, Washington was named as the first topographer of the Culpeper County, Virginia. His military career was also remarkable. Despite the facts that he didn’t have any military experience, Washington was made a commander of the Virginia militia.

Martha Washington, first First Lady of the United States of America
Martha Washington © John Chester Buttre/US Library of Congress/Image Source: Wikipedia

He owned an inherited plantation in Virginia and in 1759 Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, a wealthy widow with two children.

One year later, Washington experienced the effects of rising taxes by the British imposed on American colonists. From that point he believed the best interest of the colonists was to declare independence from England. He tried several times to spread the idea of independence. In 1769 Washington introduced a proposal in the Parliament calling for the boycott of English goods if the ridiculous taxes imposed by England are not withdrawn. It proved to be a success, but Washington believed that was still an “invasion of our rights and privileges.”


Influential politician

In 1774 he managed to introduce the “Fairfax Resolves” which were a set of resolutions adopted in Virginia and demanded the creation of a Continental Congress. In August, Washington is elected as delegate to the First Continental Congress. By the time when the Second Continental Congress took place one year later, the American Revolution had begun.

Washington returned in the army as a General Mayor and Supreme Commander in 1775 and had an important role in the American Revolutionary War. Even if he wasn’t a good military strategist, he managed to motivate his army and win important battles that led to US independence.

After his second retirement from the military, Washington was convinced to participate in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 where he was elected unanimously president of the Convention. Although he wasn’t involved in the “small-talks” about the new laws, his presence maintained and held delegates at work.

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States © Howard Chandler Christy/ Image Source: Wikipedia

The first President

The position of President of the United States was inexistent until Washington defined the post. It was supported by most part of delegates and it was ratified by all 13 states at that time. Washington’s mind was to retire to his beloved Mount Vernon, but he was called up again to serve his country. The Electoral College voted him unanimously as the First President of the United States. He is the only president in the American history to be elected unanimously.

On April, 30 1789 Washington took the oath at Federal Hall in New York City, the capital of US at that time. The Congress offered him an annual salary of $25,000 at that time (today is estimated around $650,000), but being already wealthy, Washington refused. However he was convinced at the insistence of Congress in order to avoid a precedent where the post of the president could be accessible only to rich people.
Washington was elected for the second time but he refused to run for the third. His choice settled later on a law (Amendment 22 of the Constitution) in which a person can’t be the President more than twice.

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