george washington black and white headshot

George Washington is widely known as the first President of the United States (though there is history and facts to the contrary). While he is often lauded for this alone, there are many aspects of his presidency, and his life overall, that go overlooked.

Some essential characteristics of his presidency include the fact that he signed the first copyright law into effect, and also established the idea of a presidential cabinet. Much of what the United States’ political frameworks still look like today can be attributed to his work. Here are some more George Washington presidency facts that you need to know.

Who Was George Washington?

George Washington was born on April 13, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the son of King George II’s favorite horseman, Colonel William Washington, and Martha Washington.

The elder George Washington had been named for his grandfather, George I, and was raised in New Jersey. Because his mother died when he was just 13, George Washington went to live with his relatives, who lived in Virginia. Following in his father’s footsteps, he attended a local academy.

While there, he became a pupil of noted Quaker doctor Thomas Arnold. The two would later develop a strong friendship, even collaborating on medical school textbooks. Young George Washington’s studies at the academy were successful, and he excelled in several subjects.

George Washington’s Life Before Presidency

At 15 years old, George Washington attended Mount Vernon plantation, and worked alongside his father as a farmer. He married Martha Dandridge Custis in 1751 and became a stepfather to Martha’s son John. Only two of Martha’s four children from her previous marriage lived long enough to reach adulthood.

George Washington served in the Virginia militia and rose to the rank of Colonel by the time of the American Revolutionary War. He was a staunch supporter of the American cause and joined the ranks of the Continental Army in 1775.

Other George Washington presidency facts include his time in office, which was 1789 to 1797. As one of the first Presidents of the United States, he oversaw the founding of the new country. This started as a temporary nation, set up by the Constitutional Convention.

George Washington’s Contributions to the Presidency

Washington left the military when the American Revolutionary War ended and became the first President of the United States. At first, it was unclear whether Washington would be elected as the nation’s first president.

In Federalist Papers No. 68, Alexander Hamilton wrote that the party leaders did not know what to do, because they wanted to elect a president. Hamilton argued that the Constitution created a process for choosing the new leader by congressional vote. They could delegate that decision to the Continental Congress. George Washington ended up serving as president for eight years.

His Presidency

Washington took office in the twilight of the American Revolution, when the country was deeply divided. He tried to be as impartial and equitable as possible with his actions, but at the same time tried to stay above the fray, seemingly only taking action to advance the cause of peace and well-being of the United States.

He originally opposed having the position of president, believing that it should be held by a Supreme Court judge, or someone of similar stature. Eventually, he decided to take up the position out of a sense of duty. He was unanimously elected twice in a row, with John Adams as his vice president.

george washington statue

Lesser Known George Washington Presidency Facts

He was one of the most important people in the Revolutionary War. Washington served as both a general and a secretary in the American Revolutionary War. Washington is among the records for most consecutive Presidents in American history, serving two full terms.

Many considered him the greatest general in American history. He led the Continental Army to victory in the American Revolution.

Washington and Madison were two of the authors of the United States Constitution. He also had a very poor relationship with Aaron Burr, who served as a vice president in the government.

George Washington’s Failures as a US President

Although George Washington served as a president of the United States for a lengthy period of time at a total of 96 months, it wasn’t always a successful time. The one major goal he set out to achieve – to end the American Revolutionary War – was not accomplished easily. Many people believe that the Revolutionary War was won in 1776, when in fact, it went on for nearly a decade longer until 1783.

Another major criticism of Washington stems from his pro-slavery initiatives with Congress. There were a couple of anti-slavery petitions issued late in his presidency. Two major slave states at the time, South Carolina and Georgia, threatened civil war if the petitions’ requests were granted. In somewhat of a rush to avoid widespread conflict, Washington worked to prevent slaves from serving in militias as well as barring black immigrants from citizenship.

George Washington’s Legacy

George Washington was a revolutionary leader who oversaw the creation of the country we know as the United States of America. The signing of the Declaration of Independence, when he led his team to convince the thirteen British colonies to unite to fight against the king, later led to his appointment as president.

While serving in that role, Washington was criticized by some for his actions. After Washington was able to overcome some of the criticism of his actions, he was later seen by many as one of the greatest presidents of the United States. Washington also founded the College of New Jersey, later renamed Princeton University, and served in the House of Burgesses.


George Washington has, for many years, been recognized as the father of his nation, but few people know the full story. Knowing that he was not only an incredibly gifted and intelligent leader, but also an influential member of the United States Senate, a father, and a Founding Father, will help you understand why he was so widely loved and revered. Share these George Washington presidency facts with anyone who may be interested.

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