George Washington: Statesman
Following the Treaty of Paris that guaranteed American independence from Great Britain in 1783, Washington became an influential mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. Washington took his oath of office as the first United States president on April 30, 1789. Under his leadership, the new nation became an influential world power. Washington served two terms, conscious of the historic nature of his office; he was not only the first American president, but also the first elected head of state in western civilization. In office, Washington protected American neutrality in foreign affairs, established a strong central administration with three departments - Treasury, War, and State - and arbitrated successfully between political parties and regional factions.
George Washington: Public Servant
George Washington was never out of the public eye for long, though he yearned for private life at Mount Vernon. He served willingly, but with caution. He was sensitive to criticism, yet subjected himself to it by giving his talents and experience to his country. He had a temper, but learned to control it, going on to demonstrate formidable leadership by example. He maintained an impeccable public appearance but in battle would totally disregard his own personal comfort, even safety. He held strong opinions yet refrained from political partisanship. He kept the new nation out of war and steered it through wholly uncharted political waters, often not sure of the right course himself. His reward was the undying gratitude of a nation.
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