George Washington’s Statue at Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glendale
One of my favorite trivia questions to ask is, “Who was the first president of the United States?” The answer is invariably “George Washington,” and my response is, “No, it was John Hanson.” I have since learned the John Hanson was the third president, with Samuel Huntington serving as the first President of the United States in Congress Assembled. This was when our country was governed under the Articles of Confederation. A series of men held this position, which was a legislative position, similar to today’s Speaker of the House.
Why do we refer to George Washington as the country’s first president? Because he was the first president under the Constitution. Henry Lee eulogized Washington with the lines which because famous, “First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, . . .”
During his life, Washington was a figure larger than life. He was a war hero dating back to the French and Indian War. During the Revolutionary War, he lost most of his battles, but won the war. He was persuaded to attend and then to preside over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Following the ratification of the new Constitution, Washington was elected unanimously by the Electoral College to be our first president of the new government.
Because of his stabilizing influence throughout his political career, our nation was able to develop, grow, prosper. Without George Washington, there is a good chance that there would be no US presidency today or perhaps not even the United States.
Happy Birthday, President Washington.