In evaluating George Washington’s political career, it is imperative to understand the circumstances in which he was brought up and educated, but also that of the path he took to his inauguration in 1789 as the first president of the United States. George Washington was born on February 22nd 1732 in Virginia, Westmoreland County to Mary Ball and Augustine Washington who were successful plantation owners. As the oldest of his six siblings, when his father died in 1743 leaving him just elven years old, now he most probably had the responsibility of looking after the farm/plantation with his mother.
There is little information and records of his education but it was normal for a child from his background that they would have private tutors and would’ve attended a private school. When Washington was around 15 years of age, it is believed that because of his aptitude for mathematics he became heavily involved in surveying and took many expeditions into the wilderness of Virginia profiting heavily from these and began to use the money he had earnt from these expeditions to acquire land of his own. At the age of 22, Washington with no previous experience in leading a military force, he was put in command of the Virginia militia who fought in the French and Indian War and earnt his further the command of the entire Virginia militia forces. However, in 1759 Washington resigned from his position and returned to his home at Mount Vernon which was a successful estate but Washington wanted to expand further having a total of five farms, the 2,000-acre property was increased 8,000 acres, he was also insistent on the farms having many different products such as a variety of crops of corn, wheat and fruit, a prosperous fish farm and also bred horses.
Washington played a pivotal role in the American Revolution (1765-1783), here he performed his duties in the First Continental Congress in 1774 which was located in Philadelphia. In 1775, a year after the First Continental Congress the American Revolution had started and the Second Continental Congress was in motion, but this time Washington attended as commander in chief of the Continental Army. It was widely known that Washington’s strengths lay not in his military strategy but in his leadership role of general, specifically maintaining the morale of men that were inadequately trained and equipped such as soldiers going without shoes in winter conditions. Towards the end of the eight-year war in which the colonial forces had seen few victories but maintained a strong military force against the British, in October 1781, under the command of Genral Charles Cornwallis and with help from the French forces who were against the British, Continental troops captured a number of British soldiers which led to the demise of the Revolutionary War. For this effort and achievement, Washington was coremerated and was a profound national hero for this gallantry effort. This led to the 1783 peace treaty between the U.
S and Great Britain being signed, after this momentous victory and end to his commission, Washington resigned his post as Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, went back to Mount Vernon, and continued his simple life as a farmer that he had longed for some time now. But, someone of his particular skill set could not be ignored and in 1787, he was called upon again this time to head the committee at the Constitutional Convention in Philidelphia in motion to compose the new constitution. This is where member of the council decided that he was the most appropriate and equipped person to be the first president, which could be argued for his leadership skills over his intelligence. He was hesitant to this commitment and position of the upmost responsibility, and was in favus of his simple farming life which he put on hold because of the American Revolution War with the intent to return. But he could not refuse the strong public opinion and the first presidential election took place on January 7, 1789, Washington won and the contender that came in second place, John Adams (1735-1826) was the first vice president. On April 30, 1789 in New York, Washington was inaugurated. Washington was conscience of the manner in which he conducted himself as it would be used by future presidents to come as a precedent but also that of how the new president should conduct himself representing the United States through foreign and domestic affairs, particularly through foreign affairs he provided sustenance for non-intervention in overseas hostilities.
In domestic affairs he set up a nationalised bank through a signed bill and proposed John Jay (1745-1829) for the chief of justice for the U.S Supreme Court. Although Washington is best known for his establishment of federal government, the role he played in the 1791 Bill of Rights which comes under the first 10 constitutional amendments to the Constitution which granted freedoms to Americans, the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion which was caused due to taxes on whiskey and the composition of the Constitution.
The time period that Washington was President for was that of maintain peace within the union, staying neutral within foreign affairs and making sure he set the best example for presidents to come. This explains that fact that in terms of passing legislation and bills he would come towards the bottom of the list of presidents but his situation was unique and without Washington the U.S would not be the superpower it has been for over a century now. Thomas Jefferson has recently come under great scrutiny recently for being “a slave-owning hypocrite and racist; a political extremist; an apologist for the vicious French Revolution; and, in general, somewhat less than the genius remembered in our folklore”1. After his service to America being the third president of the United states, one of the founding fathers and an author of the Declaration of Independence I believe the attack on him is unreasonable and uneducated. Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743, April 13 in Virginia, similar to George Washington, he was brought up in a wealthy family that profited from the farming and planting industry, Jefferson was the third of 10 siblings. Growing up he was interested in playing the violin and reading many different books with ranging genres. When he was 9 he was sent to private school and developed a love for classical languages, mathematics and literature.
At the age of 17, he left home and travelled to Virgina’s capital, Williamsburg, to study at the College of William and Mary, however when he arrived he was discouraged to uncover that his fellow students were less interested in the academic studies and would rather gamble, drink and court women. Eventually, Jefferson managed to find a group of scholars that shared his passion, amongst these were Lieutenant Govenor Francis Fauquier and Professor William Small. When his three years at William Mary had come to an end, after which he pursued a path within law and between 1767 and 1774 he was a successful lawyer in Virginia winning many cases. In 1772 Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton a very wealthy widow, together the pair had 6 children, of which 2 survived named Mary and Martha. Later on, July 4th, 1776, Jefferson was one of five authors that composed and signed the Declaration of Independence which played a key role in setting out the objectives of the American Revolution, however this did not go far enough in the issue of slavery was taken out because of the request from the Southern leaders. Jefferson was elected Govenor of Virginia in 1779, which proved to be dark days within his political career Whilst Jefferson acted as minister to France between 1785 to 1789, he saw the causes, events and consequences of the French Revolution. When he finally left France, he was first secretary in Washington’s presidency in which he expressed his feeling for low government spending.
Jefferson lost his first presidential campaign in 1776 to John Adams and was Vice-President to Adams, however the campaign he operated in the 1800 election was fought with a degree of unpleasantness and resulted in Jefferson’s victory. Throughout Jefferson’s first term, he saw my successes in the form significantly reduced the government rules and regulation and experienced a $23million cut in national debt to $57million over the course of a two-year period. To which Jefferson should also be acknowledged on his achievement and his efforts in, is the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 for $15million, which almost doubled the United States in size creating much land to the west which would become many states. However, the prosperity of Jefferson’s first term as president did not continue into his second term, encountering many issues domestic and foreign affairs.
Over the period of 1803 to 1809, the Napoleonic Wars between France and Great Britain, put the United States in a compromising position in terms of international relations and trade with the two European powers who tried to stop trade between their enemy and America, and the issue with American sailors on the merchant ships being attracted to the British Navy. This forced Jefferson into the Embargo Act in 1807 which stopped immediate trade with Europe especially France and Great Britain, and would go on to cause the War of 1812 with Britain, so overall this was a low point in his presidency and shows that in his dealings with this foreign affair he failed and had a hand to play in causing the War of 1812. When Jefferson died on the 4th July, 1826 aged 83, after having enjoyed retirement in Virginia developing his estate similar to Washington and also being a lead figure in the creation of the University of Virginia, his legacy according to himself is portrayed on his tombstone which reads, “Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and father of the University Of Virginia.”2 His lasting legacy is debated even to this day, being an owner of many slaves but taking the political position in favour of liberties for African Americans is only one of the many contradictions to do with Thomas Jefferson, which make it very hard to put him at the forefront of the most influential president between 1763 to 1861. Andrew Jackson (1765-1845) became the seventh president on the 4th March, 1829 in Washington D.C with the audience of ten thousand people, and would go on to become a lawyer and judge, serve as a U.
S senator and representative and finally thrive as president having the profound effect making US government not only profitable for the but all supporting the ordinary people, which was anticipated as the first self-made president. But, Jackson was a barbaric slaveholder and promoted the opposition to anti-slavery and also acted very hostile to any law or person which stopped or made it difficult for him to act as he wished, showing signs of self-interest and often ignoring the Executive and Judicial sides of government. It all started for Jackson in