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George Washington (1789-1797)

 Portrait, George Washington

George Washington



1st President of the United States
(April 30, 1789 to March 3, 1797)

Nickname: "Father of His Country"

Born: February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia
Died: December 14, 1799, at Mount Vernon, Virginia


Father: Augustine Washington
Mother: Mary Ball Washington
Married: Martha Dandridge Custis (1732-1802), on January 6, 1759
Children: John "Jack" Parke Custis (adopted); Martha "Patsy" Custis (adopted)

Religion: Episcopalian
Education: No formal education
Occupation: Planter, Soldier
Political Party: Federalist
Other Government Positions:

  • Member of Virginia House of Burgesses, 1759-74
  • Member of Continental Congress, 1774-75
  • Chairman of the Constitutional Convention, 1787-88

Presidential Salary: $25,000/year (refused by Washington)

Vice President:  John Adams (1789-97)



Secretary of State
John Jay (1789-90)
Thomas Jefferson (1790-93)
Edmund Randolph (1794-95)
Timothy Pickering (1795-97)
Secretary of the Treasury
Alexander Hamilton (1789-95)
Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (1795-97)
Secretary of War
Henry Knox (1789-94)
Timothy Pickering (1795-96)
James McHenry (1796-97)
Attorney General
Edmund Randolph (1790-94)
William Bradford (1794-95)
Charles Lee (1795-97)
Notable Events:
  • 1789
    • The Judiciary Act specified the number of Federal courts and judges.
  • 1790
    • Supreme Court met for the first time with John Jay as the Chief Justice.
  • 1791
    • Federal capital established in swamplands on the Potomac.
    • A national banking system established by the Bank Act.
    • The Bill of Rights take effect.
  • 1792
    • Post Office established by Congress as a separate entity.
    • New York Stock Exchange organized.
    • Coins are minted by the government as enacted by the Coinage Act.
  • 1793
    • War breaks out between Britain and France. On April 22, U.S. declares neutrality.
  • 1794
    • Whiskey Rebellion over excise tax in western Pennsylvania. Federal troops called to suppress the armed rebellion.
  • 1795
    • The Jay Treaty ratified. British troops required to withdraw from the U.S.
    • Pinckney's Treaty with Spain opened navigation on Mississippi River.
    • Washington posed for Stuart's portrait, which is now on the one dollar bill.
  • 1796
    • Washington delivered his Farewell Address.

Points of Interest:

  • Believing that shaking hands was beneath a president, Washington bowed to his visitors.
  • Washington has the distinction of being the only president to be elected unanimously by the electoral college.
  • Washington had one remaining tooth at the time of his inauguration. During his lifetime he wore dentures made of human (some his own), cow, or hippopotamus teeth, ivory, or lead, but he never wore wooden teeth.
  • Many places are named after Washington including the nation's capital, the state, 31 counties and 17 communities.
  • The six white horses in Washington's stables had their teeth brushed every morning on Washington's orders.
  • The nation's capital was located in Philadelphia during Washington's administration making him the only president who didn't live in Washington, D.C. during his presidency.


George Washington's Personal Prayer:

“O Most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ, my merciful and loving Father; I acknowledge and confess my guilt in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of my sins, but so coldly and carelessly that my prayers are become my sin, and they stand in need of pardon.”
“ I have sinned against heaven and before Thee in thought, word, and deed. I have contemned Thy majesty and holy laws. I have likewise sinned by omitting what I ought to have done and committing what I ought not. I have rebelled against the light, despising Thy mercies and judgment, and broken my vows and promise. I have neglected the better things. My iniquities are multiplied and my sins are very great. I confess them, O Lord, with shame and sorrow, detestation and loathing and desire to be vile in my own eyes as I have rendered myself vile in Thine. I humbly beseech Thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins for the sake of Thy dear Son and only Savior Jesus Christ who came to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me.”

"Make me to know what is acceptable in Thy sight, and therein to delight, open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith, and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life, ..."
[from a 24 page authentic handwritten manuscript book dated April 21-23, 1752]