President George Washington: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Andrea Miller

Andrea is currently a social studies middle school and high school world teacher in Ohio. She has been a part of the teaching community for 9 years. She has a BA in history from Wright State University, as well as a MEd in education from the University of Dayton. In the education field, Andrea has taught workshops including OGT Success and Writing for Life. Andrea has also been a middle school debate team coach for several years. In the history field, Andrea is currently working towards a Public History Certification in Archival Studies at Wright State University.

George Washington was a hero of the Revolution who was excitedly elected to be the first president of the United States of America. In this lesson, will learn how Washington worked with the new government and set the stage for presidents to come.

President George Washington

Imagine being the first person ever appointed to a job. There would be no one to train you, no one to tell you what to do. That might be kind of scary, right?

George Washington was the first official president of the constitutional United States of America. The colonies of the United States had just gained their independence from Great Britain and created a new, democratic government under the Constitution. At the meeting where the United States constitution was written, George Washington was elected as president by all who attended. George Washington had to face the hard job of setting the precedents, or traditions, for many presidents to follow.

Road to the Presidency

George Washington was born in 1732 in Virginia to a wealthy family originally from Britain. Washington worked as a surveyor early in life and, in the 1750s, fought on the side of the British in the French and Indian War. Gaining some military experience and fame, Washington then led the rebel American militias in the Revolutionary War against the British in the late 1770s. After winning independence, the new country had a deep respect for Washington. They elected him president, and Washington faced the challenge of running the new country.

General George Washington
general george

New Traditions

In 1789 George Washington became the first president of the United States of America. He started his presidency by setting several precedents. To begin with, Washington chose to be called 'Mr. President' instead of other, more king-like names. Also, Washington took the oath of office in the city of New York to begin his presidency because Washington D.C. was not yet the capital of the country.

Next, Washington selected a group of advisers to help him in his decision-making process. The selection of a cabinet, another name for these advisers, became a norm for other new presidents. Also, at the end of his second term, Washington was asked to serve a third term, but he declined. No president after him ever served a third term, and it eventually become law that no president can serve more than two terms.

Policies and Political Parties

Once settled, Washington had to go about starting the country off properly. His first task was taking care of the debt acquired during the Revolutionary War. Washington had appointed Alexander Hamilton as the Secretary of Treasury in his cabinet. To earn money for the government, Hamilton put a tax on whiskey that upset many Americans. Also, Hamilton proposed a National Bank based off the British model of banking.

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