George Washington - President
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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
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||executive, unify, independence, ratify, best, heated, presidency, attendance, agreement, shortly, costly, remedy, emperor, wisest, attorney, government
||Revolutionary War, General Cornwallis, General George Washington, George Washington, Mount Vernon, On September, United States, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox, John Adams
George Washington - President
By Jane Runyon
1 The war for independence, called the Revolutionary War, was over. It ended on October 19, 1781, when the British troops led by General Cornwallis turned their weapons over to General George Washington and the troops he commanded. The war had lasted five years and had been costly in both lives and material goods. George Washington was tired. All he wanted to do was go back to his beloved Mount Vernon and spend his days with his wife, Martha. He had done all he could to free the colonies from British rule. Now it was up to others to come up with a way to make this new country succeed.
2 By 1787, however, the plans for a new government were not going very smoothly. The Articles of Confederation, written to guide and unify the new states, were only causing more confusion. It was in the hot summer of 1787 that the men who were considered leaders of the new nation were called together in Philadelphia to write a new set of rules, a constitution. George Washington was unanimously elected as president of this meeting. It was his job to see that the men in attendance stayed focused on the job at hand. He also needed to make sure nothing they discussed became known to the public until an agreement had been reached. On September 17, 1787, after much heated debate, a constitution setting out the guidelines for the government of the United States of America was finished. Not everyone was entirely happy with the final result, but it was the best they could do at the time. It took almost two years and a set of ten extra rules called the Bill of Rights for enough states to ratify the new Constitution.
3 On April 14, 1789, George Washington was enjoying a beautiful spring day at Mount Vernon. A messenger rode to his home and delivered a letter that would signal a new beginning for all Americans. This letter informed Washington that he had been unanimously elected as the first President of the United States. There would be no king. There would be no emperor. There would be an elected official called the president. So what does a president do? No one knew for sure because there had never been a president before.
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