George Washington's great-grandfather came to America from Essex, England around 1631 and emigrated to what was then the Colony of Virginia. The
Colony of Virginia was named in the 16th century for Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen" who never married.
John Washington then married the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, and received 700 acres, and being a successful planter, he eventually served
in the House of Burgesses.
The House of Burgesses was empowered to enact legislation for the colony, but its actions were subject to veto by the governor, council and ultimately
by the directors in London.
John Washington was then appointed a Colonel in the Virginia militia, which led up to the Bacon's Rebellion, where the frontiersmen rebelled against
the British Governor. The elitist plantation owners were grabbing up all the best lands, and the average small farmer was getting pushed into the
backcountry, where they were getting attacked by the Natives.
John Washington led a company of men that ended up killing 6 tribal leaders, which angered the Natives more, but pleased the elitist plantation
The local parish of the Anglican Church (the established church in Virginia, and thereby a tax district of the county) was changed to Washington in
George Washington became a Master Mason at the age of 21. The next year, Washington was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the British supported
Virginia militia, and led an expedition to drive the French out of Fort Duquesne.
Washington lost the battle, and in the terms of the surrender, was forced to
admit he had assassinated the scouts and their leader at the Battle of Jumanville Glen.
Released by the French, George Washington returned to Virginia, where he resigned rather than accept demotion. In 1755, Washington was an aide to
British General Edward Braddock on the ill-fated Monongahela expedition.
Braddock was killed, and Washington rallied the British and Virginian troops
to retreat, and he was branded a hero. For his reward, he was promoted to
colonel, and commander of all Virginia forces.
In 1758, Washington participated as a brigadier general in the Forbes expedition that prompted French evacuation of Fort Duquesne, and British
establishment of Pittsburgh. Later that year, Washington resigned from active military service.
The next year, Washington met a wealthy widow, who owned the "White House Plantation", and married her. Washington's marriage to a wealthy widow
greatly increased his property holdings and social standing. He acquired one-third of the 18,000 acre Daniel Park Custis estate upon his marriage, and
managed the remainder on behalf of Martha's children.
Daniel Custis's father, John Custis, was a member of the powerful Virginia governers council. By 1775, Washington had doubled the size of Mount
Vernon to 6,500 acres, with over 100 slaves.
In July 1774, he chaired the meeting at which the Fairfax Resolves were adopted, which called for, among other things, the convening of a Continental
Congress. In August, he attended the First Virginia Convention, where he was selected as a delegate to the First Continental Congress
The First Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from twelve British North American colonies, and was the formation of Congress as we know
it today. They banded together to fight King George III, who wanted British rule.
At the Second Continental Congress, Washington was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, suddenly appearing in military uniform, after
16 yrs of being away from the military.
Was Washington sent in as a British double agent?
Although negative toward the patriots in the Continental Congress, British newspapers routinely praised Washington's personal character and qualities
as a military commander.In August 1776, British General William Howe launched a massive naval and land campaign designed to seize New York and offer a
The Continental Army under Washington engaged the enemy for the first time as an army of the newly-declared independent United States at the Battle of
Long Island, the largest battle of the entire war. This and several other British victories sent Washington scrambling out of New York and across New
Jersey, leaving the future of the Continental Army in doubt.
Washington was defeated at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777.
Howe outmaneuvered Washington and marched into Philadelphia unopposed
Washington's army unsuccessfully attacked the British garrison at Germantown in early October. Meanwhile Burgoyne, out of reach from help from Howe,
was trapped and forced to surrender his entire army of six men at Saratoga, New York.
As a result of this battle, France entered the war as an open ally of the Americans, turning the Revolution into a major world-wide war.Washington's
loss of Philadelphia prompted some members of Congress to discuss removing Washington from command. This episode failed after Washington's supporters
rallied behind him.
The British evacuated Philadelphia in 1778 and returned to New York City. Meanwhile, Washington remained with his army outside New York, and in the
summer of 1779, at Washington's direction, General John Sullivan, in retaliation for Iroquois and Tory attacks against American settlements earlier
in the war, carried out a decisive scorched earth campaign that destroyed at least forty Iroquois villages throughout what is now upstate New York.
On November 25, 1783 the British evacuated New York City, and Washington and the governor took possession. The Electoral College elected Washington
unanimously in 1789, and again in the 1792 election; he remains the only president to receive 100% of electoral votes
In 1791, Congress imposed an excise tax on distilled spirits, which led to protests in frontier districts, especially Pennsylvania. By 1794, after
Washington ordered the protesters to appear in U.S. district court, the protests turned into full-scale riots known as the Whiskey Rebellion. The
federal army was too small to be used, so Washington invoked the Militia Act of 1792 to summon the militias of Pennsylvania, Virginia and several