In temper and outlook George Washington had little in common with such radicals of the Revolution as Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine. He was a well-to-do planter, who felt the pinch of British imperial control in matters involving his daily activities, such as, restrictive trade laws on the export of tobacco, laws taxing tobacco from one colony to another, levying colonial taxes, and laws prohibiting colonists from taking up western lands to relieve their burdens of debt due to poor crop production.
Young George Washington In The Military
When not yet twenty-one, Washington began his remarkable military career. Shortly after he was appointed major in the Virginia militia, he was delegated by Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia to carry to the commander of the French forces on the Ohio River the momentous message which precipitated the French and Indian War by demanding, in the name of King George II, that the French withdraw from the Ohio Valley.
Young Washington's heroic efforts in defending Fort Necessity, his heroism in the attack of General Braddock's army on the Monongahela, and his participation as colonel of a Virginia regiment in the taking of Fort Duquesne were the start of his brilliant military career.
Washington Returns Home
After the British defeated the French at Fort Duquesne, George Washington resigned his military command, married, settled at Mount Vernon, and continued his life as a planter. He took a relatively unimportant part in the agitation against British measures adversely affecting the colonies from 1759 to 1774.
However, when the British "Intolerable" Acts of 1774, directed chiefly against Boston and Massachusetts, but threatening the freedom of all the colonies, led to the assembling of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, George Washington was one of the Virginia delegates.
When war broke out, a commander-in-chief of the united colonial forces was required. Washington was the logical choice because of previous military service. As commander-in-chief, Washington's greatest feat probably was keeping his men together after the dis-heartening defeat at Fort Washington on Upper Manhattan Island. He gathered the remnants of his army together and defeated the British at Trenton and Princeton.
Character Of A Hero
At war's end in 1782, George Washington faced perhaps the biggest crisis of his career, one that would define his character as a great American hero. His men had forgone pay for as much as six years during the war, with a nearly bankrupt Congress, considering a permanent non-payment of the troops.