George Washington

George Washington

  • Ranked #1: Without Washington, there would be no office of the president, no United States or the peaceful transfer of power. Truly the number one.
  • Summary: A man intensely principled. Had little time for banter. Loved to dance, played cards, played billiards most of his life and loved to fox hunt. Good natured yet sometimes lost his temper. Poor speaker who worked off of prepared statements. He exhibited a silent toughness. Life was a serious calling for Washington. He was always determined to get all he could honestly get in any situation.
  • Bio: He was basically a fine natured person. He looked you straight in the eye when he spoke to you. Except for a couple of people, he was not known to have many friends in his inner circle, yet he commanded a great deal of respect with everybody he managed to meet.
    He was the type of guy who took etiquette seriously and would not stay in the company of others who had little. I think the single most important thing Washington did was he gave power back, (power he deserved to keep) to the people of the US, twice. Once after the War of Independence and secondly after serving eight years as the first US president.
    As President, he created the office out of his own imagination. Most of the structure of the office has remained in place ever since. He had little interest in being the first president of the US but felt that his country needed him to take the position. He was recruited by others because there was simply no other person who could have provided the leadership at the time. A third term was his for the taking. However after several years of public service that left him exhausted physically and mentally, he decided that the correct course for the country was to peacefully transfer power to a successor after two terms. This custom would stand for almost a century and a half until FDR was elected to a third term.
    There was no other person in US history that made a bigger impact on this country than he did. At the time of Washington’s death, he was considered the most famous person in the world. He influenced that many people.
  • Pros: He established the office of the presidency from scratch. Was the most admired man in the world in his own time. With his presidential restraint and nonpartisan stance he was able to create the image of presidential greatness. Could have been king but refused the crown for the sake of the republic.
  • Cons: Although he detested partisanship, he made little effort to stop the expansion of it within his own presidency. He was a slave owner who although treated his slaves generously after his death, he never freed them in his lifetime.
  • Born: February 22, 1732, Pope's Creek, Virginia
  • Died: December 14, 1799 (aged 67) Mount Vernon, Virginia
  • Term: April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797 (2 terms)
  • Political Party: None
  • Religion: Episcopalian
  • Education: The equivalent of an elementary school education
  • Marriage: January 6, 1759, to Martha Dandridge Custis (1731–1802)
  • Children: None
  • Career: Soldier, Planter
  • Vice President: John Adams