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As a boy, George Washington was ignorant of the commonest accomplishments of youth. He could not even lie.”

Mark Twain


Anecdotal cherry tree aside, very little is actually known about Washington’s childhood. We do know, however, that when he was 16 years old he assisted in plotting land in the Shenandoah Valley. Excerpts from his diary of the trip, included the discomfort from sleeping under “one thread Bear blanket with double its Weight of Vermin such as Lice Fleas & c” and an encounter with an Indian war party bearing a scalp.

As an adult, he enjoyed riding, fox hunting, duck hunting and sturgeon fishing, dancing, billiards, cards, wrestling, and ran his own horses in races. Washington had two horses shot out from under him and his clothes cut by four bullets without being hurt.

Can you spot the historical errors in this famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware River?

  • the flag is from the wrong time period
  • the boats are the wrong size and shape

Washington was voted unanimously to be the first President. As the first president of a new country, he defined the style of that position (including how to address a president), and the people adjusted to a government without a king. The first four members of thes cabinet: Thomas Jefferson (Secretary of State), Alexander Hamilton (Secretary of Treasury), Henry Knox (Secretary of War) and Edmund Randolph (Attorney General).

In 1793, when war was declared between France and England, he believed that the United States should insist on its national identity, strength, and dignity; to keep the country “free from political connections with every other country, to see them independent of all, and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character that the powers of Europe may be convinced that we act for ourselves, and not for others.”

When the news of his death on December 14, 1799 reached Europe, the British channel fleet and Napoleon’s armies paid tribute to his memory.

By the way – the father our country fathered no children of his own.

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