George Washington (1732–1799) was the commander in chief of the colonial armies during the American Revolution and the first President of the United States of America. Washington was born in Virginia and worked as a land surveyor and planter until he joined the Virginia militia and fought in the French and Indian War (1754–1763). He was elected to the House of Burgesses in 1758 and married Martha Dandridge Custis, a wealthy widow, in 1759. As colonial anger over British rule rose in the 1760s, Washington became a supporter of American independence. He served as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses and after the start of the war in 1775, he was appointed leader of colonial forces by the Second Continental Congress. Washington led his armies through harrowing defeats and major victories. At the end of the war, Washington resigned his commission and returned to Virginia but was soon called back into service as president of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. In 1789, Washington reluctantly accepted the presidency of the nation and served in that office until 1797. As president, he played an influential role in creating the new nation’s government. In 1794, he successfully ended the Whiskey Rebellion, and during the French Revolution, he declared American neutrality. Washington refused to run for a third term and finally retired in 1797. He enjoyed two years as a private citizen before his death in 1799.

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