What were George Washington's successes and failures

George Washington

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2. George Washington biography
2.1. curriculum vitae
2.2. Career

3. The emergence of the USA
3.1. The discovery of America
3.2. The War of Independence

4. The presidency
4.1. political actions
4.2. The Constitution
4.2.1. The executive
4.2.2. The legislature
4.2.3. The judiciary

5. Successive presidents
5.1. John Adams
5.2. Thomas Jefferson
5.3. James Madison

1 Introduction

George Washington was the first President of the United States. Many monuments were placed on him, such as the name of the capital Washington D.C., the Washington Monument or his head on Mount Rushmore and on the one-dollar banknote.

2. George Washington biography

2.1. curriculum vitae

George Washington was born in Virginia on February 22, 1732. Since his parents were not particularly wealthy, he lived very modestly and was raised only superficially. When he lost his father Augustine, a plantation owner, at age eleven, he was raised by his stepbrother Lawrence. Up to the age of 15 he went to a school in Williamsburg, where he only got a simple education, but was increasingly occupied with mathematics. He then worked as a land surveying engineer. When Lawrence died of tuberculosis in 1752, he inherited all of his parents' family property. In 1753 he was made colonel in the Virginia militia and played an important role in the conflicts that preceded the Franco-British colonial war. After his fights in 1754 and 1755, when he was just 22 years old, he married the widow Martha Dandridge Custins in 1759, who had two children from their first marriage. She also owned a lot of land and about 150 slaves, which suggested that she was very rich. After the War of Independence, which lasted from 1758 to 1781, Washington withdrew temporarily back into his private life from 1783. The joint victory with the French over the British was very important for him. The Shays' Rebellion (1786/87) - an armed uprising in Massachusetts sparked by economic misery - convinced many Americans of the need for strong federal violence. Washington played an important role in realizing this goal: in 1787 he joined the Constitutional Convention as a delegate from Virginia and was elected President. In 1789 he was elected the first President of the United States by an overwhelming majority and was confirmed in office in 1792. In 1797 Washington resigned from politics, exhorting citizens to maintain the unity of the nation. George Washington died in Mount Vernon on December 14, 1799. Even in his lifetime, people admired him as the "father of the nation" and as a national hero.

2.2. Career

After George Washington was defeated by the French at Fort Necessity in 1753, he left the militia and joined the regular British force in Virginia in May 1755. In 1755 Washington was given command of the militia defending Virginia's western border. From 1758 Washington was a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, the colony's House of Representatives, for 17 years. In July 1774 he was instrumental in the passing of the "Fairfax Decisions", ie a boycott of British imports. As a result, Washington was elected as a delegate to Virginia in the first continental congress in September and October 1774 and the second in 1775. After the first fighting between Massachusetts and the British had broken out, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the new Continental Army in 1755. After initial defeats and retreats, he was able to defeat the British at Trenton and Princeton in December 1776. Although France fought alongside Washington, the Americans had to fight in 1778 It was not until October 1781 that the main British army was forced to surrender at the Battle of Yorktown.

3. The emergence of the USA

3.1. The discovery of America

Hunters and nomads from Asia were the first to set foot on North American soil. About 30,000 to 34,000 years ago they followed their prey along the Siberian coast and crossed the land bridge that still connects the two continents. From what is now Alaska, over the course of millennia, these ancestors of the Indian tribes found their way south into what is now the United States. Evidence of early settlements in North America is found in both North and South America. They point out that it was around 10,000 BC. There were settlements in much of the west. Agriculture developed slowly, starting with the gathering of food. Indians living in what is now central Mexico were the first to grow corn, squash and beans, perhaps as early as 8,000 BC. Around 300 BC. Irrigation systems and the first permanent settlements emerged. The first Europeans to reach North America around AD 1000 were Icelandic Vikings, led by Leif Ericson. In 1492 the navigator Christopher Columbus sailed westward from Europe on behalf of the Spanish Crown and landed in the Bahamas. Within 40 years, Spanish adventurers built a huge empire in Central and South America. The first major wave of immigration from Europe to North America began at the beginning of the 16th century. Emigration from England often did not take place with the help of the government, but was organized by private individuals who were primarily interested in profit.

The first English subsidiary was established in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. Other settlements emerged in New England and in the central and southern colonies. In 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers reached the country on the Mayflower and established the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. The first German settlement was founded in Pennsylvania in 1683. By 1733 thirteen English colonies had emerged along the Atlantic coast.

3.2. The War of Independence

It was the English who set the stone of the War of Independence rolling because they levied taxes on almost every commodity. When English merchants then brought a large shipload of tea, which was subject to customs duties, into Boston, the population of Boston attacked the ships and threw the tea boxes into the sea. This event in December 1773 is known as the "Boston Tea Storm" or "Boston Tea Party". In 1774 the English authorities closed Boston Harbor to trade as a punishment for these insubordination. This measure led to uprisings in the colonies. In the same year 1774 the American colonies sent their delegates to a congress in Philadelphia. At this congress the English king was politely asked to lift the restrictions on trade and industry and not to impose taxes on the colonists without their consent. The king responded by demanding the complete submission of the colonies and declaring that they were in an uproar. In the following year fighting began between the troops of the English king and the American colonists.

In the first years of the war the English government tried to enclose and starve the main area of ​​the uprising, the northern colonies. However, this plan did not succeed. The English army that had been sent to be encircled was smashed. The English then moved the wars from the democratic northern colonies to the south, where English aristocratic slave owners were the masters. But here too the English suffered a failure. The war was particularly successful for the Americans after they had received armed aid from France in 1778, taking advantage of the old hostility of the two colonial powers England and France. In 1781 the main forces of the English surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia. In the following year the terms of peace were worked out in Versailles; the peace itself was made in 1783. The English recognized the independence of the colonies.

The American people's war for independence made a big impression on the progressive people of Europe. The Americans still present themselves as role models in their struggle for independence and democracy.

4. The presidency

4.1. political actions

In 1789 Washington was elected the first President of the United States by an overwhelming majority and was confirmed in office in 1792. He instituted a cabinet that was not provided for by the Constitution and in which the two major conflicting parties - the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans - were equally represented. He shifted the open outbreak of the party dispute to the terms of office of his successors John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Washington demarcated the office of president from Congress and tried to keep it out of all party conflicts. With the appointment of Federalist Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury and Republican Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, he brought two of the most capable personalities of the revolutionary generation to central positions. Washington followed Hamilton's proposals for order and stabilization of finances and similarly gave Jefferson a free hand in shaping his foreign policy.

4.2. The Constitution

As early as 1776, after the declaration of independence, the various states had individually developed constitutions that shared all popular sovereignty, separation of powers and separation of church and state as main points and agreed to a loose confederation (Articles of Confederation). The "Founding Fathers" met in 1787 at the Philadelphia Convention and decided to solve the prevailing economic crisis through a central political power and a unified internal market (Articles of Union). The delegates of the convention were mainly well-known personalities from politics, science, trade and economy.

Under the leadership of George Washington, the federalists pushed through their concept of a representative democracy with a state-presidential system of government against the supporters of a loose confederation of states.

On September 17, 1787, the Convention adopted the draft constitution (Articles of Union) and in 1788 the constitution came into force with the necessary approval of 9 states. The constitution formed the distribution of power in such a way that power was not borne by one authority alone, but that power was divided into three branches called the legislature, the executive and the judiciary (separation of powers). All three powers have so many competencies that they represent a counterweight to the others (separation of power, checks and balances).

4.2.1. The executive

The President of the United States is head of state and government at the same time. His term of office is four years and is elected by people elected electors in November of an even year. The vice-president is elected at the same time as the president. As a result of a constitutional amendment from 1951, a president can only be elected for two terms. The powers of the President are considerable, but not unlimited. As the main shaper of federal politics, the President can propose new laws to Congress and has the right to veto all bills proposed by Congress. The President is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. He has the right to fill vacant federal judicial posts, including at the Supreme Court, i.e. in the judiciary.

The executive branch of government is responsible for enforcing the law in the country. He is supported in this by the Vice President, the cabinet members and the heads of the independent authorities. In contrast to the power of the president, their responsibilities are not laid down in the constitution; nevertheless, they have their specific tasks.

4.2.2. The legislature

The legislature - that is, the Congress - is made up of elected representatives from all 50 states. According to the constitution, the US Congress, which consists of two chambers, has budget sovereignty and the right to initiate legislation. It is generally claimed that Congress influences American politics by "turning the money on - or off." Only Congress has the right to pass federal laws, make declarations of war, and sign treaties with foreign countries.

The members of the House of Representatives are elected for two years. Each representative represents a constituency in their state. The number of electoral districts is determined by a census carried out every ten years. Senators are elected for six years. Their elections are staggered, i.e. a third of the Senate is re-elected every two years. The constitution provides that the vice-president presides over the Senate. He has no right to vote, except in the event of a tie.

4.2.3. The judiciary

At the head of the judiciary is the Supreme Court, the only American court expressly provided for in the constitution. Supreme Court justices are appointed for life by the President, but can also be dismissed.

In addition, Congress established 13 Federal Courts of Appeals and, one level down, 95 Federal District Courts. The Supreme Court or Supreme Court arrives in Washington D.C. together; the other federal courts are spread across the city across the country. Federal courts deal with cases that affect the constitution, federal law, or federal treaties. They are also responsible for the law of the sea and for cases involving foreign citizens or governments or the American federal government itself. With a few exceptions, only lower court appeals are heard by the Supreme Court.

The constitutional system with the "checks and balances"

Figure not included in this excerpt

In 1791 the constitution was supplemented with basic rights. The main points were the abolition of census voting rights and, in addition, personal freedom of people (freedom of religion, freedom of the press and freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the controversial right of petition (every citizen may carry a weapon)), as well as that the President and Congress always act on behalf of the people should.

5. Successive presidents

5.1. John Adams

John Adams, who lived in Braintree (now Quincy, Massachusetts) from 1735 to 1826, was Vice President of the United States from 1789 to 1797, and second President from 1797 to 1801. He was also a leader in the American independence movement. Adams' presidency was marked by rivalry with Alexander Hamilton, also a member of the Federalist Party, the conflict over the government's measures against the opposition and a crisis in US-French relations. He graduated from Harvard College in 1755 and became a lawyer.

5.2. Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson lived from 1743 to 1826 and was one of the leaders of the independence movement against Great Britain, author of the American Declaration of Independence and third President of the USA (1801-1809). He was one of the main proponents of the American Enlightenment. Jefferson was born in Shadwell, Virginia on April 13, 1743, to a wealthy plantation owner. He was admitted to the bar in 1767 and was first elected to the Virginia House of Representatives in 1769.

5.3. James Madison

Madison was born on March 16, 1751 to a wealthy plantation owner in Westmoreland County, Virginia. In 1776 Madison was elected to the Virginia Convention, where he vehemently advocated the independence of the colonies from the motherland. In 1783 Madison became a member of the Virginia Parliament and, as an advocate for a strict separation of church and state, brought Parliament to pass the Jefferson-drafted Religious Freedom Act in Virginia.

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