Who is George Washington and Why is He on The One Dollar Bill?

George Washington is a name that evokes reverence amongst his countrymen. His role in the liberation of the United States from the British Empire was so monumental that it did not take long after independence for Americans to vote him in as the first leader of the nation. Washington served as the first-ever president of the United States from 1789 to 1797 after presiding over the constitutional convention of 1787 that birthed the American federal government and constitution of the country.

Before his tenure as president, Washington had served the country in various capacities such as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, Delegate to the Continental Congress from Virginia, Commander in Chief of the Continental army and Senior Officer of the United States Army. During his time in office, John Adams served as his vice president before later becoming president in 1797.

While George Washington was a notable slave owner, he later became bothered by the institution of slavery and thus granted his slaves freedom in 1799. He belonged to the Anglican church and was also a member of the Freemasons. Read on to find out more about who exactly George Washington was, why is he on the one-dollar bill, and other details of his life achievements.

Who is George Washington?

Born on the 22nd of February 1732 in Popes Creek, Colony of Virginia, British America, George Washington was the first of six children to parents; Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. His father Augustine was a renowned public figure who served as a justice of the peace. His grandfather John Washington had immigrated from the Sulgrave area of England to the British Colony of Virginia.

Although his elder half-brothers received formal education at Appleby Grammar School, George Washington was not formally educated. He did, however, learn subjects such as trigonometry, mathematics, surveying and was a skilled draftsman and map maker. In 1749, he satisfied the requirements to be given a surveyor’s license from the College of William and Mary and was subsequently appointed as the surveyor of Culpeper County, Virginia.

In 1952, Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor appointed him as a major and commander of one of the four militia districts. In this role, he got to work as a special envoy and intermediary between the French and the English as they competed for control of the Ohio Valley. He was later promoted to lieutenant colonel and second-in-command of the Virginia Regiment as he went on to participate heavily in the French and Indian War.

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By 1775, George Washington was nominated to be the Commander-in-Chief of the US Congress-created Continental Army by Samuel and John Adams due to his experience in the military. In this position, he led Patriot forces to victory in the nation’s War for Independence before resigning from this position in December 1783. In his farewell address, he committed the interests of the country into the hands of the Almighty God.

After his resignation, Washington called for the need for a national constitution stating that the country was on the verge of anarchy. In 1787, a convention was held to revise the constitutional articles and George was nominated by Benjamin Franklin to preside over this convention. After the constitution was put in place, the state electors voted for a president on the 4th of February 1789 and Washington was elected as the nation’s first-ever president.

Why is He on the One Dollar Bill?

George Washington
George Washington

As a nod to his contributions to America’s independence, being one of the most important figures in American history, George Washington’s portrait was put on the one-dollar bill. It further helped that he went on to serve as the first president of the United States.

It is worthy to mention that George Washington offered to serve without a salary but Congress declined and he was paid about 25 thousand dollars per year. His birthday is celebrated every year as a federal public holiday and he is an international symbol of nationalism. A number of institutions are further named to honor him while the state of Washington was also named after him and is the only American state named after a president in the US. He has also appeared on more postage stamps than any other person.

Felix thephylix
Felix thephylix
As an avid traveler and world explorer, I have been to over 25 countries in the last 10 years. I've taken countless photos, written about my experiences in award-winning stories and documented my travels. My work has been featured in many top travel websites, including National Geographic Traveler and The Guardian.


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