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The Professions of George Washington

Picture of George Washington as a surveyor Picture of George Washington as a farmer Picture of George Washington as a general on a horse A portrait of George Washington

George Washington began his working life when Lord Fairfax asked him to accompany him on a surveying trip. Washington was 16 years old. On this trip, he gained valuable skills in surveying and cartography. He continued to work as a surveyor for the next two years. In between surveying trips to different areas of Virginia, George Washington continued to live with his half-brother, Lawrence Washington, who would teach him skills he would need as a soldier in the military. In 1752, Lawrence Washington died and George became a plantation owner and farmer. Despite the relatively small amount of time he was able to spend working as a farmer, Washington enjoyed his life as a gentleman farmer, overseeing farm operations and the creation of beautiful landscaping. He believed that it was the noblest profession.

The next job that Washington took on, was that of a soldier. The Governor of the colony of Virginia, appointed Washington as a major and send him on a mission to the Ohio River Valley. Washington fought in the first battle and many of the subsequent battles of the French and Indian War. A few years into the war, Washington was promoted to Colonel and continued to serve as a soldier in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. When the French and English finally came to an agreement and the war was over, Washington returned home to work as a farmer once again in 1759.

Beginning in 1765, Washington served as a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. With the other colonists, Washington also became angry about the high taxes England was imposing on the colonies without any kind of representation in their government and joined in the protests. In 1774, Washington served as a member of the First Continental Congress, the colonies first attempt at their own government. The next year, Washington returned to serve on the Second Continental Congress. After the battles of Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress unanimously chose George Washington as the commander-in-chief, the General over all of the armies and militias in the colonies. He worked hard as a general and demanded the same from the men he commanded. Washington was a smart leader and did not let the British draw him into battles but instead chose the battles he would fight himself. During the war, Washington led 10,000 men and stayed with them for almost the entire war. When the war was over in 1783, Washington resigned from his commission as the commander-in-chief of the new country’s army. He once again returned to Mount Vernon where he hoped to live the remainder of his life as a gentleman farmer.

However, when the Constitutional Convention met in 1787, Washington was chosen as one of Virginia’s delegates. George Washington was chosen to be the president of the Constitutional Convention. For three long, hot months, from late May to mid-September, the members met in closed rooms. Finally, they came to an agreement and the member signed the constitution on September 17, 1787. Once the Constitution was ratified, the people elected George Washington as their first president. After serving two consecutive terms, Washington was finally able to return home in 1798. He lived the few years he had left, working as a farmer.