Leader of independence and the first President of the United States of America (Pope s Creek, Westmoreland, Virginia, 1732 - Mount Vernon, Virginia, 1799). This wealthy southern landowner had acquired military experience as a member of the British colonial army in the fights against the Indians and French (1752-58), reaching the rank of Colonel.
Hardening of the British colonial rule over the thirteen colonies of North America led Washington to participate actively in Virginia politics, headlining in his house opposition to new taxes and authoritarianism of the British (1759-74). When the opposition turned into a conflict between Great Britain and its colonies, George Washington attended as a representative of Virginia in the first Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia in 1774 to defend a United stand against the metropolis.
The second Congress was elected unanimously as Commander in Chief of the army who were to form the colonies to fight for independence (1775); Although it was not a radical independence, seemed appropriate for the post by his military experience, by its good reputation among the notables of the South (because until then conflict with the metropolis had fundamentally affected the colonies of New England, in the North) and its proven management skills, which had led him to be one of the country's richest planters.
Since George Washington was devoted enormous effort to improvise the army of the new country (which had declared its independence in 1776), struggling to get money, weapons and recruits, maintain discipline, encourage the enthusiasm of soldiers and harass the British army, despite not being backed by a unitary political direction or a great spirit of sacrifice of the settlers.
Washington won some initial successes against the British (aided by the "loyal" settlers, German mercenaries and Allied Indian tribes) in the battles of Trenton and Princeton (1776). But, knowing their military inferiority, tried to safeguard its troops from large gatherings in the open field until he could face them with guarantees, and practiced a guerrilla struggle for most of the war of independence (1775-83). His moment came in 1778, when France and Spain lent military support to the American Revolution, which enabled him to land a final blow in the battle of Yorktown (1781). Great Britain recognized the independence of the thirteen colonies of North America by the peace of Versailles of 1783.
Attained independence, the prestige accumulated by Washington did they reclaim him to continue in political life, acting as a referee between the two currents which debated the future of the country: the federalists of Hamilton and Jefferson Republicans (although bowed to the first). Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention gathered in Philadelphia in 1787, with the intention of replacing the inefficient articles of Confederation by a real Republican, federal and presidential, Constitution, which strengthened the central power and cohesion among the thirteen States. He put all his personal prestige at stake to make that Constitution was approved by reluctant States, thus making it came into force in 1789. And immediately was chosen to be the first President of the United States (and re-elected in 1792).
During his two terms (1789-97) put into practice the liberal-democratic political model designed in the Constitution, surrounded himself with authority and solemnity the figure of the President, promoted the program of capitalist economic development of its Treasury - Hamilton - Secretary, began the colonization of the Indian territories to the West (Kentucky, Tennessee) and laid the foundations of a foreign policy isolationist (avoiding entering the European wars of the French Revolution).
In 1793, he founded the new federal capital, baptized Washington in his honor, although the presidential residence not moved there until times of his successor in office, John Adams. Washington resigned voluntarily to be elected for a third term (for which support does not have lacked), whereas the perpetuation of a President in power would be damaging to the constitutional regime of freedoms; It thus established a custom broken only by Franklin D. Roosevelt.