Last Updated on December 17, 2019
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He served as the first president of the United States of America (1789 – 1797). He was a statesman and recognized as one of the Founding Fathers of the country.
To this day, Washington is regarded as the driving force that made the establishment of the nation possible. Then and now, he is referred to as the “Father of the Country.”
Education (or the lack thereof)
Hardly any information is published with regards to George Washington’s early days. The lack of details on his childhood ushered in a lot of the fables created by biographers to fill in the gap. But it is well-known that in 1743, his father died and left the family with little money to support his son’s formal education.
And so, from the age of seven to fifteen, Washington was homeschooled. He also attended lessons given by a local church sexton. Later on, he had lessons with a schoolmaster. He studied geography, basic Mathematics, Latin, and English.
He learned more about life through his association with the plantation backwoodsmen and foremen. By his early teens, he was proficient in growing tobacco, raising stocks, and surveying the land. Washington was also a voracious reader and writer. He often corresponded with authors and friends, both in America and Europe. They talked about the ongoing cultural, agricultural, and political trends of his day.
George Washington was elected unanimously as the President of the United States twice. He had a significant role in shaping the purpose and function of every individual fortunate enough to be voted as the country’s Commander-in-Chief.
Ironically, Washington was the only US president to have never resided in the White House. During his presidency, he and his family lived in a series of grand houses in New York, and then later, in Philadelphia. The First Family received Congress members, government officials, foreign dignitaries, and other notable individuals in these residences.
In 1790, the Residence Act was passed. The bill mandated the relocation of the country’s permanent capital on the Potomac River (now Washington D.C.). Washington personally chose several of the capital’s buildings. He particularly had interest in the federal district and the President’s mansion (now the White House).
In the last months of his presidency, Washington felt the need to give the country a lasting legacy. With the help of his right-hand man, Alexander Hamilton, he wrote his Farewell Address to the American people. Through his farewell speech, Washington urged his fellowmen to value the Union. He also asked them to steer clear of partisanship and extensive foreign partnership.
In 1797, he stepped down as the president and handed over the government to John Adams. Soon after, Washington went back to Mount Vernon to live his last years in life as a simple farmer. He dedicated most of his time looking after the farm’s day-to-day operations.
On December 14, 1799, Washington died in their family home. He was 67.
If he wanted to, George Washington could have been the king of America. Instead, he opted to be a citizen. As such, he had established a lot of precedents for the state and the presidency. The most prominent of all is the two-term limit in the office.
He set the strength of the presidency as an element of the three branches of the government. He emphasized the power to exercise authority only when needed. He also acknowledged the balance of power built within the system.
Washington was not only regarded as a military and revolutionary hero. He was also an individual of great integrity. He had a deep sense of duty and honor to his country, family and fellow citizens. For over 200 years, he has been recognized as invaluable to the success of the American Revolution.
He has always been credited for his role in the establishment of the nation. But his most significant legacy is his insistence that he was dispensable. His act to step down from power highlighted that the cause of liberty was larger than any single person.
It’s common knowledge that George Washington had dentures. However, contrary to what others believe, his false teeth weren’t made of wood. In reality, they were a mixture of carved animal bones and the human teeth he bought from his enslaved workers. In fact, the purchasing receipts of the human teeth still exist.
Washington, among his many titles, is also known as the “Father of the American Foxhound.” The first US president was a dog lover. In many accounts, he treated his dogs as family members. He’d also given them unique names like Tipsy Drunkard and Taster. Many historians say that Washington may have owned over 50 dogs during his lifetime.
In terms of favorites, Washington loved to eat hoecakes for breakfast. A hoecake is a flatbread made from cornmeal. Much like pancakes, these are served with butter and honey.
To learn more about this great statesman, here are 80 of the best George Washington quotes.
George Washington Quotes
- “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” – George Washington
- “It is better to be alone than in bad company.” – George Washington
- “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington
- “My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” – George Washington
- “A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?” – George Washington
- “Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to appellation.” – George Washington
- “Human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” – George Washington
- “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” – George Washington
- “There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” – George Washington
- “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” – George Washington
- “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.” – George Washington, Rules of Civility and Other Writings & Speeches
- “Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.” – George Washington
- “Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a Freeman, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.” – George Washington
- “Associate yourself with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.” – George Washington
- “Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.” – George Washington
- “A sensible woman can never be happy with a fool.” – George Washington
- “Experience teaches us that it is much easier to prevent an enemy from posting themselves than it is to dislodge them after they have got possession.” – George Washington
- “Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person’s own mind, than on the externals in the world.” – George Washington
- “The harder the conflict, the greater the triumph.” – George Washington
- “Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.” – George Washington
- “The turning points of lives are not the great moments. The real crises are often concealed in occurrences so trivial in appearance that they pass unobserved.” – George Washington
- “Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice.” – George Washington
- “To encourage literature and the arts is a duty which every good citizen owes to his country.” – George Washington
- “Where are our Men of Abilities? Why do they not come forth to save their Country?” – George Washington
- “We must consult our means rather than our wishes.” – George Washington
- “Real men despise battle, but will never run from it.” – George Washington
- “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all” – George Washington
- “To persevere in one’s duty, and be silent is the best answer to calumny.” – George Washington
- “We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.” – George Washington
- “There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy.” – George Washington
- “Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone.” – George Washington
- “I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy.” – George Washington
- “…if to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The rest is in the hands of God.” – George Washington
- “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.” – George Washington
- “It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government.” – George Washington
- “No punishment, in my opinion, is to great, for the man who can build his greatness upon his country’s ruin.” – George Washington
- “Be not glad at the misfortune of another, though he may be your enemy.” – George Washington
- “Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.” – George Washington, George Washington’s Farewell Address
- “Strive not with your superiors in argument, but always submit your judgment to others with modesty.” – George Washington
- “It is absolutely necessary…for me to have persons that can think for me, as well as execute orders.” – George Washington
- “A bad war is fought with a good mind.” – George Washington
- “A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.” – George Washington
- “Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest.” – George Washington
- “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government.” – George Washington, George Washington’s Farewell Address
- “Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” – George Washington
- “One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts.” – George Washington, George Washington’s Farewell Address
- “Wherein you reprove another be unblameable yourself, for example is more prevalent than precepts.” – George Washington, George-Isms
- “Decision making, like coffee, needs a cooling process.” – George Washington
- “Someday, following the example of the United States of America, there will be a United States of Europe.” – George Washington
- “Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.” – George Washington
- “I’ll die on my feet before I’ll live on my knees!” – George Washington
- “Every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome.” – George Washington, George Washington’s Farewell Address
- “The reflection upon my situation and that of this army produces many an uneasy hour when all around me are wrapped in sleep. Few people know the predicament we are in.” – George Washington
- “Let your conversation be without malice or envy, for it is a sign of a tractable and commendable nature; and in all cases of passion admit reason to govern.” – George Washington, George-Isms
- “A man ought not to value himself of his achievements or rare qualities of wit, much less of his riches, virtue or kindred.” – George Washington, George-Isms
- “Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.” – George Washington, George Washington’s Farewell Address
- “The great mass of our Citizens require only to understand matters rightly, to form right decisions.” – George Washington
- “If the cause is advanced, indifferent is it to me where or in what quarter it happens.” – George Washington
- “Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest.” – George Washington
- “The gradual extension of our settlements will as certainly cause the savage, as the wolf, to retire; both being beasts of prey, though they differ in shape.” – George Washington, Writings of George Washington
- “The nation which indulges toward another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to it animosity or two its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.” – George Washington
- “I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.” – George Washington
- “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.” – George Washington
- “Much was to be done by prudence, much by conciliation, much by firmness.” – George Washington
- “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.” – George Washington
- “It is a much easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances in a comfortable room by a good fireside than to occupy a cold bleak hill and sleep under frost and snow without cloaths or blankets.” – George Washington
- “Experience has taught us, that men will not adopt and carry into execution measures best calculated for their own good, without the intervention of a coercive power.” – George Washington
- “I can truly say I had rather be a Mount Vernon than to be attended at the Seat of Government by the Officers of State and the Representatives of every Power in Europe.” – George Washington
- “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” – George Washington, George Washington’s Farewell Address
- “Those who have committed no faults want no pardon. We are only defending what we deem our indisputable rights.” – George Washington
- “Do not suffer your good nature […] to say yes when you ought to say no; remember that it is a public not a private cause that is to be injured or benefitted by your choice” – George Washington
- “No morn has ever dawned more favorably than ours did; and no day was ever more clouded than the present. Wisdom and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.” – George Washington
- “System to all things is the soul of business. To execute properly and act maturely is the way to conduct it to your advantage.” – George Washington
- “You will agree with me in opinion that there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” – George Washington, State of the Union Address
- “Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.” – George Washington, George Washington’s Farewell Address
- “Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest; scoff at none although they give occasion.” – George Washington
- “We have probably had too good an opinion of human nature in forming our confederation.” – George Washington
- “A knowledge of books is the basis upon which other knowledge is to be built.” – George Washington
- “Make sure you are doing what God wants you to do – then do it with all your strength.” – George Washington
- “To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian” – George Washington, The American Revolution