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George Washington Biography
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, on the banks of the Potomac River on the farm in Bridge’s Creek, in the old county of Westmoreland, in the present state of Virginia. Belonged to a distinguished English family, originally from Northamptonshire, who had come to America in the mid-seventeenth century and had accumulated a considerable fortune. His father, Augustine, owner of vast properties, was an ambitious man who had studied in England and that after the death of his first wife, Jane Butler, who had given him four children, remarried to Mary Ball, of a respectable family Virginia, which gave him another six children, including George.
Little is known about the future president’s childhood, his parents unless directed to a settler there and this was not beyond the rural schools of that time: between seven and fifteen years he studied irregularly, first with the sacristan of the local church and then a teacher named Williams. Away from any literary or philosophical concerns, the boy received a rudimentary education in the bookish, but strong in the practical order, which inclined him active temperament.
Already in early adolescence was sufficiently familiar with the tasks of the settlers to grow grapes and store snuff. At that time, when he was eleven, his father died and passed into the guardianship of his elder half-brother, Lawrence, a man of good character who, in some ways, was his tutor. At home, George met a more comprehensive and refined, as Lawrence was married to Anne Fairfax, one of the greatest heiresses in the region and used to rub elbows with high society in Virginia.
A Settler With Military Life
Hearing the stories of his brother, he awoke in a military vocation early age of fourteen and wanted to become a soldier, but had to scrap the idea to the fierce opposition of her mother, who refused to continue the arms race. Two years later began working as a surveyor, as an assistant to an expedition to measure the lands of Lord Fairfax in the Shenandoah Valley.
From there, the long days in the open, rough and exposed to the dangers of the wild, taught him not only to know the customs of the Indians and the possibilities of settlement of the West but to master your body and mind, temples for the task that the future holds. But for now, although not disturbing political concerns (young Washington was a loyal subject of the British crown), was annoyed by the limitations imposed by the metropolis to colonization because his brother planned to take their business to Western lands.
After twenty years was a turning point in his life that made him head of household. Tuberculosis was killed in Lawrence in 1752 and George inherited the Mount Vernon plantation, a huge estate with 8,000 acres and 18 slaves. So he became one of the richest men in Virginia, and as such acted: soon distinguished himself in community affairs, was an active member of the Episcopal Church, and was a candidate in 1755, the House of Burgesses in the district. Also excelled in the amusements, was a superb horseman, tall, blue eyes, a great hunter and better fisherman, loved to dance, billiards and playing cards and attending horse races (he had his stables) and plays many were present in the region. But his vocation as a soldier was killed, and its plans appeared to be a brilliant military.
By then, British and French vied for control of North America, and the controversy over the routes of the capital of Ohio had led to extreme tension between the settlers. Washington joined the army, and shortly after the death of his brother was appointed by Governor Robert Dinwiddie district commander, with a salary of $ 100 a year. Before the French invasion of the border, in 1753 the governor ordered the mission to reconnoiter the border.
In mid-November, Washington was launched in front of six men for the Ohio Valley, a barren country, inhabited by savage tribes and many dangers. Despite the cold and snow, was able to complete the journey lasts up to Fort Le Boeuf in Pennsylvania, a feat that began to build his reputation.
Declared in 1756 the Seven Years War, which for the English colonists in America meant the struggle for dominance against French expansion, Washington was appointed lieutenant colonel in the Virginia Regiment, commanded by General Fry. When he died in combat, succeeded him as supreme commander of the armed forces of the county, and soon after joined the staff of General Braddock, who led regular troops sent by Britain. On July 9, 1755, distinguished himself in the Battle of Monongahela for their courage and decisiveness, but it ended in disaster for the British.
The loss reverberated so in his mind that the young soldier retired to Mount Vernon with the firm intention of not returning to take up arms. But he could not carry it out, as remarkable Virginia asked to take charge of the troops, even though he was only twenty-three years old.
Washington kept control between 1755 and 1758 when it was chosen as representative of Frederick County to the House of Burgesses of Virginia. His name was already popular, he was admired for his experience and tact, and began to carve out a strong political prestige by intervening actively in the deliberations of the assembly.
After some disappointments, disappointed with the course of the war with France and the conduct of the British commanders, Washington resigned his military post to return to Mount Vernon, and soon after January 6, 1759, he married Martha Dandridge, a Paula-Antonio so rich and beautiful widow of Col. Parke Custis and owner of one of the wealthiest families in Virginia. He had a large number of slaves, 15,000 acres valued and two children aged six and four, who became the true family of Washington.
In Mount Vernon, the couple, united only by a passionate love for harmonious happiness, lived the life of the rich owners, mindful of the prosperity of their land and the prominent role they played in the social life of the region. Everything was big, the clothes are bought in London, the parties were lavish and the guests are counted by hundreds. But this lavish life would be interrupted by the political storm that struck early in North America.
The Struggle For Independence
The end of the Seven Years’ War, signed on February 10, 1762, by the Treaty of Paris, France meant the resignation of its claims on Acadia and Nova Scotia and the possession, by England, Canada, and all Louisiana region, except New Orleans. But the trade gap between London and its colonies increased as a result of this conclusion, as the British government felt that all their possessions had to cooperate in the amortization of costs incurred by the war because they all had benefited from their results.
The deficit caused by the war was enormous, and in March 1765 the British parliament voted a tax that hurt the traditional rights of the colonies, enforcing the use of stamped paper for all kinds of contracts. With real political blindness, the next year won several duties on paper, glass, lead, and tea, which provoked the indignation of the American business world and the formation of patriotic leagues against the consumption of British goods.
At the forefront of the struggle that preceded the outbreak of revolution had to put the aristocrats of Virginia and the Democrats of Massachusetts. Washington was annoyed by such measures but continued to be regarded as a loyal subject to England and a man of moderate views.
In 1773 the population of Boston protested taxes throwing the cargo of tea into the sea. The fact, known as the Boston Tea Party, finished opening the eyes of Washington and turning to the defense of American liberties. When Virginia lawmakers met the following year in Raleigh, he attended and signed the resolutions. Revolutionary in the first term of that year made an eloquent speech declaring, “will organize an army of thousand men, I will keep my money and I will forward them to defend Boston.”
Had ceased to be a moderate when in uniform, represented Virginia in the First Continental Congress held in Philadelphia in 1774. His letters show that they still opposed the idea of independence, but were determined not to give up “the loss of rights and privileges which are essential to the happiness of every free state, without which life, liberty, and property become unsafe.”
With the outbreak of hostilities between the British and Americans at the Battle of Lexington, on 19 April 1775, the autonomy declared their desire for independence from the British crown. All colonies were found to be at war against France and, at the Second Congress met in Philadelphia that year, entrusted the command of the troops to the Virginian planter George Washington.
His election was partly the result of a political compromise between Virginia and Massachusetts, but also the consequence of the fame gained in the Braddock campaign and the talent that impressed the delegates of the Congress.
The flamboyant head of the colonial forces was then compared to the risky task of creating an army almost from scratch and in the presence of the enemy. On reaching Boston he found more than fifteen thousand men, but it was only a confused mass of unruly rebels, divided into mutually hostile bands, often in rags and poorly armed. Lacking food and supplies, and in addition, each provincial assembly dictating orders to his whim.
Here Washington showed his brilliant organizational skills and tireless energy, disciplining and training the inexperienced volunteers, gathering supplies, and calling for the colonies in their support. Thus the army organized in Massachusetts, with which he could occupy Boston and New England expel the British General Howe in 1776. That year, with the arrival of new troops sent by the metropolis, the Americans had solemnly proclaimed the independence of the United States.
Washington had won the first round against the troops of the crown, but there were still several years of war in which American soldiers would be brought to the brink of annihilation. Among the key factors for victory in the first term is its ability to give confidence to the soldiers, its tireless energy, and great common sense. Never was a brilliant strategist, because, as Jefferson said, “often failed to open field, but he knew his men to keep alive the flame of patriotism and always listened to the views of the generals in command, no matter aside his own opinion.
Thus, in a second moment, withdrew his troops to the south and waited for the British counterattack on Long Island, but decided to retire because of their numerical inferiority about Howe. Since then, Pennsylvania employed a tactic of attrition which won the victories of Trenton and Princeton in 1776 but also defeats Brandwine and Germantown the following year. Retreat, held at Howe’s forces advancing on Philadelphia.
The city could not resist and fell to the British chief, but soon the British suffered considerable disaster and General Burgoyne was forced to capitulate at Saratoga, Oct. 17, at the siege of the American Chief Gates.
This success of the American Revolution in Europe moved to the followers of encyclopedic and the proponents of “natural man” of Rousseau. French volunteers such as LaFayette, Rochambeau, and De Grasse, as Kosciuszko and South Poles as Miranda, came to the aid of the armies of Washington, which was thus facilitated his task. After the terrible winter at Valley Forge, where he devoted himself to training his troops, was able to resume the fight victoriously through the reinforcements received. The French government in the conflict saw the opportunity to avenge the defeat of the Seven Year’s War and in 1778, signed an alliance with the United States, which joined the following year Carlos III of Spain.
The help of French troops was so effective that Washington was able to recover Philadelphia, New York siege and head south to stop the advance of Lord Cornwallis, who was in charge of eleven thousand men, the bulk of British troops. On October 19, 1781, he was forced to capitulate after being taken prisoner with his army. The surrender brought the ultimate victory of the colonists and the recognition of independence from England before peace was signed at Versailles, January 20, 1783.
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The Constructor Of The State
During wartime, in 1778, Congress had enacted the Act of Confederation, the first attempt to form a homogeneous block with the thirteen states of the Union. But this political formula gave poor results since the war and its aftermath demanded more power than a strong central government without authority. At the height of prestige and fame, after military triumphs, Washington had to face the challenges of national reconstruction. On one side refused to accept the crown offered him some remarkable, engaging in combat monarchical reaction of some sectors of the country, and on the other proclaimed the need for a constitution.
His stance federalist advocates the implementation of efficient central power to defend American interests abroad and to balance the partisan leanings of the territories, he knew reconciled with the Republicans, favored retaining the economic and political independence of states. The agreement between the two groups was expressed by the Constitution of September 17, 1787, the first written charter that governs the form of government of a country. Again, organizational skills and made the leader of Washington’s hopes were placed on it, and Congress elected the first president of the United States in 1789.
The prudence, wisdom, and above all, almost religious respect for the law, were the dominant notes of his eight years in office. In electing the four members of his Cabinet, Thomas Jefferson in the State Secretariat, General Henry Knox in the War, Alexander Hamilton in the Treasury, and Edmund Randolph of Justice, Washington established a careful balance between Republicans and federal, which enabled the implementation of the device that would coordinate and direct the administration of the country.
To address the serious economic problems for which he crossed, he applied a tough fiscal policy and worked to involve large capital with the State, to engage in the stability of the nation. With the same aim created the Bank of the United States and to promote industrial development, issued a series of protectionist measures which earned him the support of the bourgeoisie.
Elected to a second term in 1793, before his doubt was Jefferson who convinced him to accept the office again. This second stage of government had which led to serious problems such as the rise in the west by the opposition to taxes on liquor, which originated in 1794 an uprising known as the Whiskey Rebellion, which was suppressed by troops sent by order of the president.
Another element of attrition was the clash between Jefferson and Hamilton, due to the radicalization of the French Revolution and the armed conflict that ravaged Europe. While the Secretary of State was inclined to support the United States to revolutionary France, the Treasury secretary advocated neutrality in the war. Washington, which had initially tried to maintain harmony between them, supported, once declared the European war, the positions of Hamilton and decided on neutrality. It was not long in declaring his pro-British sympathies, despite the enormous debt his country owed to France, and this resulted in the weakening of relations with this nation. Thomas Jefferson, meanwhile, expressed his disagreement and abandoning the government and the opposition, opposed the centralism of the president.
That’s how Washington’s political star began to decline until completely darkened when they met the terms of a trade agreement signed by Britain, the Jay Treaty of June 25, 1794, which caused heated debates in parliament and a real decline in presidential popularity. Still, he was elected a third time to seize power, but this time he refused flatly, saying he wanted to return to his family and peace of privacy. I stopped by the fear of the dictatorial temptations which would undermine the democratic origin of their struggle for independence, and do not hesitate to return to his Virginia plantation.
The last two years of his life, and in the decline of their physical, were devoted to caring for their families and their properties, except for a brief interruption in 1798, when he was appointed commander of the army to the danger of war with France. The following winter, Washington returned home exhausted from a cavalcade of several hours, the cold and snow.
Acute laryngitis led him to his death on December 14, 1799. The great man of independence, which was “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen”, faced the end with his characteristic serenity, the same that had allowed him to face the danger of battlefields with absolute confidence. As Jefferson wrote, was a man inaccessible to fear.
George Washington Chronology
George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia (USA)
He enlisted in the army
Elected representative to the House of Burgesses of Virginia Frederick County
Seven Years War
If the house with Martha Danbrigge, Viuda of coronel Parke Custis
Is appointed commander in chief
Proclamation of Independence of the United States
The English capitulated at Saratoga
Lord Cornwallis se rinde en Yorktown
Enactment of the Constitution
George Washington was elected the first president of the nation
Create U.S. Bank
George Washington was elected for a second term
The trade agreement with Britain, known as the Jay Treaty
He died in Mount Vernon, Virginia (USA)
The Independence Of The United States
The independence of the English colonies in North America and the birth of the United States is one of the most relevant historical events of the eighteenth century. The U.S. Constitution promulgated on September 17, 1787, became the first written Charter governing the form of government of a country. Emphasizing individual rights and granting sovereignty to all citizens and not a monarch laid the foundations of modern law.
This was one of the reasons that led to the independence of the United States becoming a symbol of the struggle for freedom of peoples and were to become a reference point for further insurgent movements, among which was the French Revolution. Similarly, the independence of the United States proved the colonized territories might have been freed from the yoke of Europe. The American nation was a point of reference for many Latin American leaders. After achieving independence, many former Spanish colonies were inspired by the political organization of the United States to build their states: a clear example is Mexico, a nation that, at least nominally adopted a federal structure like that of its neighbor North.
Background And Causes
The American Revolution marked the independence of one of the most prosperous in the eighteenth century colonial possessions. Located along the Atlantic coast of North America, the thirteen colonies that were involved in the struggles for independence were in the north, Massachusetts (New England), Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, in central New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and south, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
The form of government that England hosted its possessions introduced an embryonic direct popular participation in its internal affairs whose authority rested with the citizens’ assemblies. In the mid-eighteenth century, the social structure within the colonies indicated the location at the top of the power of a territorial oligarchy through several generations had controlled the citizens’ assemblies, whose ideology was profoundly conservative. But at his side began to emerge a large and prosperous middle class prepared to defend tolerance, the free development of their property and trade to the requirements of the Crown. The latter sector, especially settled in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Newport, or Charleston, became the Guide of the secret organizations in promoting that adopted the name “Sons of Liberty”.
The causes of independence must place them at various levels. The deepest of these points to the change in mentality that experienced these territories and the wave of immigration coming from Europe between 1700 and 1760. This phenomenon was to determine a company with a strong religious structure pluralistic, tolerant, irreverent of power that facilitated the introduction of moral and ethical debate in public policy.
There is also an ideological cause that is stated in the rapid reception is made of natural rights and the enlightened ideas that later would foster the independence movement. The cultivation of rhetoric based on myth, legend, and history completed the internalization of a local spirit. The last case points to the political and economic transformations that England tried to introduce into their colonies after the Seven Year’s War with France in 1763.
The alarming growth of the British debt as a result of the war led King George III to declare a tax increase pressure on its subjects overseas. In 1764 the rise experienced by the tax on sugar, the general research authorization is given to customs agents to record business for contraband, the creation of a standing army, and the law on the ring was among the measures that led to the indignation of the colonists. They convened meetings to express their protest and ask the King its repeal.
One of the most important meetings was the meeting of the Stamp Act in New York in October 1765. There the “Sons of Liberty” laid the groundwork for coordinated action against the Crown and outlined the shared rights of the first thirteen colonies. Although the British Parliament heard the noise coming from his possession and suspended American Stamp Act, shortly after this institution voted the “Declaratory Act, a decision that recognized the right to tax ‘external’ to the colonies all cases without exception. Covered in this decree, in 1767 Parliament passed three laws whose provisions the import duty levied on tea, glass, paper, lead, and other items imported colonies.
The “Declaratory Act” and increasing taxes put back on fighting the settlers. Since the assembly is more reluctant to comply with the actual devices, Mass., sent a circular to other colonies explaining the rights of settlers and proposing a boycott of English tea. In the episode known as the Boston Massacre of March 1770, when soldiers guarding the port used their weapons and killed some settlers protesting against the tax, the conflict escalated between the Americans and British.
The colonists refused to buy tea from England to confirm the King’s tax, so they decided to import it illegally in the Netherlands. Also, Charleston, Philadelphia, Boston, and New York began organizing riots demanding that the British boats will return to the metropolis with their cargoes. On December 16, 1773, a group of colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians climbed the ships laden with tea chests and threw them into the sea with the blessing of the population.
In retaliation for this act of sabotage, George III was that Parliament vote on the closing of Boston harbor and the relocation of the capital to Salem. Also ordered to implement the “Regulation Act annulling the charter of Massachusetts and placed the colony under direct administration of England. The assembly of citizens of the colony declared intolerable sanctioned these measures and launched a distress call to the rest of the colonies.
This collective rebellion materialized itself on September 5, 1774, in Philadelphia to become the first continental congress of the “Sons of Liberty.” This Congress did not intend to independence or attempt to make autonomous legislation. Still dominated by conservative supporters of reconciliation with the Crown, the purpose of Congress was demanding to King George III a correction for the injustices committed to raising taxes and punishing the rebellious colony.
However, this conference came a more radical sector, led by Samuel Adams, Massachusetts decided to create patriotic associations whose aim should be to prevent by force the British attacks if they continued. Massachusetts established well in practice, a provisional government led by John Hancock, parallel to the established by the British under General Gage. The loyal to Adams and Hancock were organized and armed to cope with any realistic attack “companies of emergency”.
The armed conflict between rebels and the “redcoats” was inevitable. Would occur in regions where Adams and Hancock had taken refuge. General Gage ordered a detachment of troops to go to Lexington, where both leaders were suspected. The famous parade of “patriot” Paul Revere to the village announcing the arrival of the English allowed the escape of Adams and Hancock to the nearby town of Concord. There on April 19, 1775, occurred the battle. The British troops shot dead a “company of emergency” that stood in his way, but the arrival of reinforcements finally made them retreat. A few days after the bloodless battle, the Patriots began the siege of the city of Boston.
The pretext for the outbreak of the joint rebellion of the thirteen colonies was activated by the events of Concord. One by one loyal to the king’s government collapsed and instead the settlers formed emergency committees. But still, the feeling of independence was not a majority. This is confirmed by the conciliatory approach he took to the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775. While recognizing the state of war still rejected the disregard for the authority of George III. The lawmakers decided to send a final request, the “olive branch” as a sign of reconciliation provided to rectify injustices.
At the same time, George Washington was proclaimed chief of the Continental Army. When Washington took office in Cambridge (Massachusetts) met with a contingent that has not yet recovered from the battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, the bloodiest of the Revolutionary War, assume that despite the loss to the settlers Boston British forces inflicted heavy casualties.
The king’s reply to the “olive branch” was negative and decided to send reinforcements to quell the rebels. This repressive attitude to Congress placed in the dilemma that the brochure was published in January 1776 by Thomas Payne with the name of Common Sense summed it up perfectly: there was only a return to the submission or the quest for independence. Many members of Congress began to take seriously this last possibility. The tendency to free itself completely from the King would be more pronounced in New England and southern states in the Middle Colonies.
The development of the revolutionary war lasted almost seven years and went through two clear phases. The first phase covers the actions taken by the Continental Army and militia patriots between autumn 1775 and winter of 1778, while the second phase begins with the creation of the Franco-American military arising from the U.S. defensive alliance with France celebrates February 6, 1778.
Regarding the first stage, the strategy of Washington can do little to bring up an army poorly armed, trained worse, and much less in number than the British troops. This explains why the expedition organized by Washington to Canada was a failure, although the loss compensation is achieved from the English port of Boston in March 1776.
While Washington’s army tried to change the course of the war, representatives of Virginia gave the decisive step to political change by declaring its independence on June 1, 1776. His example was continued for the rest of the colonies. On July 4, 1776, the General Congress in Philadelphia proclaimed the union of the thirteen colonies, voted the famous Declaration of Independence of the United States of America, written by Thomas Jefferson with the support of John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.
Although the “Sons of Liberty” achieved a resounding victory at the international level with their emancipation, military setbacks in internal strife during 1776 and 1777 threatened to disrupt the experience. British military operations were successful to recover after beating New York on Long Island to the Continental Army on August 27, 1776. British troops under the command of the Howe brothers would continue their offensive in the north capturing New Jersey. In July 1777 the royalist troops advancing on Philadelphia again provoked the flight of the army of Washington.
But luck began to be inimical to the British when they undertook the conquest of the Hudson Valley, which would have control of the colonies division separating southern New England. In the two games war of Saratoga in September and October of 1777 the defeat of British troops to the American militia, commanded by General Horatio Gates, led to the surrender of General Burgoyne. This battle began the withdrawal of the army loyal to the king in the north and had to return to the American optimism.
The Conflict Goes Global
The Franco-American alliance in February 1778 was a triumph of American diplomacy that led Franklin to Europe. If ex-settlers for the agreement led to the recognition of independence in Europe, for England meant a return to military conflict with its traditional rival. But not only France would declare war on England, but Spain would also do the same in 1779 and a year later the Netherlands. Although Spain did not send American military men as Lafayette, contributed financially to the maintenance of the Continental Army through the home and children Gardoqui in Bilbao. Also, the Visitor of New Spain, José de Gálvez, Washington gave the army the ability to refuel at the border, and the governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Gálvez, Spain rallied to the two Floridas in 1781.
However going to war with the major European powers, the British between 1780 and 1781 obtained some victories over the allied army in its attempts to reconquer the northern colonies, whether launching attacks from the military base in New York conquered or attacked by the semi-desert border regions. In the latter, the Tory Rangers, ie territorial oligarchy members loyal to the King, assisted by several Indian tribes, particularly the battle waged against the settlers of New York and Pennsylvania.
Another important fight scene is the sea, which until then had been dominated exclusively by the English ships. Here the greatest successes of the patriots enabled privateers whose number reached about two thousand. It follows that the war had reached a point where none of the warring factions could go beyond what they get if it was not at the expense of making a radical change in its strategy to combat. Such was the risk that British generals decided to run to move in late 1778, the scene of the fight in the south.
The first town to fall into English hands was Georgia in December 1778, the recapture was carried out by troops of Colonel Campbell. The following year an outpost of the English army stationed in New York started south to take Charleston, the strategic port of South Carolina. As in Georgia, here too, American militias were able to avoid that General Clinton took office last port on May 12, 1780. Then the loyal troops under General Cornwallis launched an offensive to regain North Carolina. Here begin the British debacle in preventing the allied army at the Battle of Monte del Rey in October 1780, two months later at the Battle of Cowpens the completion of this objective.
Given this obstacle, Virginia decided to attack Cornwallis, but Allied troops under General Lafayette at Yorktown cornered, a city on the banks of the York River. The siege on the regular army ally lasted about two months, and Cornwallis capitulated on 19 October 1781. With the fall of Yorktown, hostilities between the two armies ceased. Britain realized that its international isolation was an unnecessary continuation of the war because only the troops of General Clinton still occupied New York. Two years later came to the United States and England in reaching an agreement by which it recognized the independence of its former overseas possessions. This peace treaty was signed on September 3, 1783.
Nineteen years had passed since the beginning of the protests against the English plan to convert these rich territories into simple colonies that should only exist to serve the economic interests of England, providing raw materials and absorbing their manufacturing. The result that brought this attempt to introduce a despotism royalist colonies that had long since internalized direct involvement in its internal affairs, a right that was assumed as both moral and inalienable, was the acceleration of the total decoupling of U.S. England.
Yet the United States would require some years to achieve the consolidation of its independence. The “Articles of Confederation” written in 1777 gave rather limited powers to the Continental Congress. When sealed the end of the war with England, no State of the Union wanted to submit to its mandate. This internal conflict would be resolved only in the Annapolis Convention of 1787 if all states adopted the constitution that established a national government, republican and federal. This process culminated with the election of George Washington as the first president of the United States on March 4, 1789.
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