Item Code: 157/us-1
George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the first President of the United States (1789–1797), the commander
in chief of the Continental Army during the American
Revolutionary War, and one of
the Founding Fathers of the United
George Washington (1st U.S. President).
The Great Seal of the United States
156 x 66 mm
Early life: Washington's mother was Mary Ball and his father was Augustine Washington. They owned a plantation with slaves in Virginia. George studied at local schools in Fredericksburg, and was also homeschooled for part of his life. George's mother was unfit to care for him and his father died when he was 11 years old.
Before the Revolutionary War: Washington became a farmer like his father. His plantation was called Mount Vernon. He also worked as a surveyor, measuring land. Washington always aspired to be a soldier and was active in the French and Indian War. His first military actions were a defeat at the hands of the French and their soldiers in Virginia. In 1759, Washington married a widow named Martha Custis. The marriage produced no children.
The Revolution: Washington was a delegate to the First Continental Congress, which was created by the Thirteen Colonies to respond to various laws passed by the British government. The Second Continental Congress chose him to be the commanding general of the Continental Army. Washington led the army from 1775 until the end of the war in 1783. After losing the big Battle of Long Island, and being chased across New Jersey Washington led his troops back across the Delaware River on Christmas Day, 1776, in a surprise attack on Hessian mercenaries at the small Battle of Princeton and Trenton, New Jersey. The British had more troops and more supplies than Washington, however, Washington kept his troops together and won these small battles.
Overall, Washington did not win many battles, but he never let the British destroy his army. With the help of the French army and navy, Washington made a British army surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781, in the final major battle of the war. The war officially ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783.
After the war: When the Revolutionary war ended, Washington was considered a national hero. He was offered a government position that would have been considered a dictatorship over the colonies, but in a surprising move, Washington refused, left the army, and returned to Mount Vernon. He wanted the colonies to have a strong government but did not wish to head that government, nor did he want the colonies to be run by a tyrant.
A few years later, Washington was called upon to host the discussions for the new government. He was voted president of the Constitutional Convention in 1785. Washington wanted the states to ratify the Constitution of the United States and they did, largely thanks to the Federalist Papers, which were written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison.
Presidency: In 1789, Washington was elected president without any competition, making him the first President of the United States. While Washington did not belong to any political party, he agreed with certain Federalist policies, such as the country having a standing army and a national bank. He was re-elected to a second term. After his second term, Washington decided not to run for reelection, despite his popularity remaining high. His decision set a precedent that every president followed until Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.
Retirement: Washington went back home to Mount Vernon after his second term ended in 1797. He died on December 14, 1799, in Mount Vernon, at the age of 67, from pneumonia.
Great Seal of the United States
The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the U.S. federal government. The phrase is used both for the physical seal itself (which is kept by the U.S. Secretary of State), and more generally for the design impressed upon it. The Great Seal was first used publicly in 1782.
The obverse of the great seal is used as the national coat of arms of the United States. It is officially used on documents such as United States passports, military insignia, embassy placards, and various flags. As a coat of arms, the design has official colors; the physical Great Seal itself, as affixed to paper, is monochrome.
Since 1935, both sides of the Great Seal have appeared on the reverse of the one-dollar bill. The Seal of the President of the United States is directly based on the Great Seal, and its elements are used in numerous government agency and state seals.
1935 dollar bill
According to Henry A. Wallace (then the Secretary of Agriculture in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's cabinet), in 1934 he saw a 1909 pamphlet on the Great Seal by Gaillard Hunt. The pamphlet included a full-color copy of the reverse of the Great Seal, which Wallace had never seen. He especially liked the motto Novus Ordo Seclorum ("New Order of the Ages"), likening it to Roosevelt's New Deal (i.e., "New Deal of the Ages"). He suggested to Roosevelt that a coin be made which included the reverse, but Roosevelt instead decided to put it on the dollar bill. The initial design of the bill had the obverse on the left and the reverse on the right, but Roosevelt ordered them to be switched around. The first bill to contain both sides of the seal was the series 1935 $1 silver certificate.
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