George Washington (February 22, 1732[b][c] – December 14, 1799) was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father, who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence. He also presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government. He has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.
After Washington received his initial military training and command with the Virginia Regiment in the French and Indian War, he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses. He was named a delegate to the Continental Congress, where he was appointed Commanding General of the nation’s Continental Army. In an alliance with France in the Revolutionary War, he led a campaign against Britain which ended victoriously at the Siege of Yorktown. Once victory was in hand in 1783, he resigned as commander-in-chief.
Washington played a key role in the initial adoption, and the subsequent states’ ratification, of the Constitution. He was then elected president by the Electoral College in the first two elections. He promoted and oversaw implementation of a strong, well-financed national government while remaining impartial in a fierce rivalry between cabinet members Thomas Jeffersonand Alexander Hamilton. During the French Revolution, he proclaimed a policy of neutrality while sanctioning the Jay Treaty. He set enduring precedents for the office of president, including the title "President of the United States", and his Farewell Address is widely regarded as a pre-eminent statement on republicanism.
Washington owned and traded African slaves, but he became troubled with the institution and freed them by his 1799 will. He was a member of the Anglican Church and the Freemasons, and he urged tolerance for all religions in his roles as general and president. Upon his death, he was eulogized as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." He has been memorialized by monuments, art, geographical locations, stamps, and currency, and many scholars and polls rank him among the top American presidents.