Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789


portrait of George Washington
descriptive record icon enlarge image icon General Washington (1732-1799).
Painted by John Trumbull (1756-1843). Engraved by Valentine Green (1739-1813).
Mezzotint, 1781.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-45197.

General George Washington (1732-1799)

During his lifetime, George Washington was admired, respected, and praised to a degree unmatched by any other figure in American history. With America's victory in the Revolutionary War, many gave General George Washington most of the credit for the birth of the American nation.

Before the Continental Congress named him Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in 1775, Washington was already recognized as a statesman and soldier. As early as 1755, at the age of twenty-three, he was in command of all Virginian troops during the French and Indian War. Born to a landed family in the Virginia countryside, Washington was skilled in surveying land, managing a plantation, entertaining the gentry, and playing politics. Although he had a fierce temper, through sheer strength of character he kept it under control. This same strength of character enabled Washington to endure nine years of commanding a novice army during a war with one of the world's great powers -- the British empire.