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In America, we have a very structured and systematic government. This government has multiple layers that are intertwined and connected. The greatest of these layers are the three branches of government: the judicial, the legislative, and the executive. The most prominent of these three, in the eyes of the people, is the executive branch, or in others words the president. In our country, a long line of succession of leaders have been the heads of country running it as they see fit. Like any succession, the presidential succession is no different in the fact that it has to have a beginning. This, is where George Washington, our first president comes. George set the stage for what a president was for the people, for the government, and to the rest of the world. George Washington literally set the physically definition of what a president is for others to follow in his name, or against his name. Through his life choices as a young general, as president, and time stepping down from his presidency, George Washington has earned himself the distinction of being a good president.
George’s ambition started at his roots, which was the military. After his father’s passing, George found solace and new guidance in the form of his brother Lawrence. “From Lawrence, Washington learned trigonometry and surveying and cultivated a taste for ethics, novels, music, and the theater.” Lawrence having served under the military, inspired George to join. Later on in life after Lawrence dies, George steps up to fill the shoes and start his military role. Washington, after having his own tastes of battle, began to have his own preferences of politics. The largest question in politics in Washington’s time was whether or not to support British rule. “Washington had two disputes with English officers who viewed their regular-army commissions as superior to that of the Virginia militia commander. These disputes may mark the beginning of Washington’s resentment of British attitudes toward the colonies.”1 Once well known, he was appointed to County Justice of the Peace of the county of Fairfax. Here he enjoyed the ripeness of the American Interests of exploring options and freedom. This increase this resentment for the British even more. Once tensions raised themselves high enough, Washington was elected commander of armed forces, refusing acceptance of pay. After fights of the revolution took their course, it was time for the government to reframe itself to survive, thus begetting the constitution. This lead to Washington becoming our first president. “His unanimous election as the first president of the United States was certain before the Constitution was even adopted and, again, he accepted with reluctance.”1
Washington’s presidency is rooted with fundamental federalist structure to strengthen our government. Washington helped to establish the capitol of what would be Washington D.C. President Washington decided to strengthen that of the area around him and the position he was in. “While the Constitution calls for the creation of executive departments, it only explained that the heads of executive departments were unelected officials who had to answer to the president. Washington defined how these roles would function.” Washington set up his own cabinet of advisors to aid him. Unlike many presidents seen as figure heads, Washington the general, never died even after becoming president. Washington personally fought against the Whiskey Rebellion showing the power of the federal government, and emphasizing his role as commander and chief. Washington also established crucial legislature such as but not limited to: The judiciary act, the naturalization act, the bank act, and the salve trade act. Washington overall was a very strong presence that both people and the government around him supported.
Legacy is something that Washington purely defines, as so much of our world is based on the beginning which was Washington. Washington established his successions place of residence, and their form of advisory council. He supported religious freedom and set up the organization of the Supreme Court. Washington’s main footstep in history was his balanced calculating standard for himself. He considered his power as given by the people and not for his own will to meander with. He always placed restrictions on himself, emphasizing his place as a president, not a dictator or a president. Sadly, much of Washington’s role model-esk moments are not really emphasized today, but his legacy is still established and appreciated by those who know the history. The last bit of information left to Washington’s legacy is the fact that in his farewell address he warned his successors of the presence of political parties. “Washington’s Farewell Address, which warned against ‘the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party,’ encouraged a focus on education and morality, cautioned against sectionalism within the nation, and admonished against entangling foreign alliances, has continued to have influence over American culture and political debates long past when it was first published.”2
In conclusion, considering the facts that were aligned in Washington’s times, Washington in every sense of the word, was a good president. He established federal strength, became the people’s unanimous vote twice, and demonstrated what it means to be a well-constructed president and leader. The unique message that set aside Washington form his successors is that he always saw himself as a servant leader and even went out of the way to set up protections for the people against himself. Washington led America to victory over the British. Washington led to America to structure after the articles fell under and no one knew how to take the constitution. Washington, in more poetic terms, was by the people and for the people, using his well-known judgment to discern the best possible choice of action for all.
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