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A named leader involved in a revolution (America or France or Ireland) during the

period, 1770 – 1815


George Washington
George Washington was born on the 22nd of February 1732. His family lived in
Virginia and owned a large tobacco plantation there called Mount Vernon. He became
a surveyor and then an army officer in the British army. He left the army in 1758 to
marry Martha Dandridge. He was elected to a local assembly as he was critical of
British rule. He attended the first continental congress and was elected to the second.
In June 1775 he became commander-in-chief of the American army. The continental
congress then passed the declaration of independence on the fourth of July 1776.
When Washington became commander he faced many problems. The British army
had the advantages of a professional army and navy, four times more soldiers and a
stronger navy with control of the seas. They had the disadvantages of little knowledge
of the countryside, difficulty getting recruits for the army and nave and the use of
mercenaries, mostly German, who often deserted. The continental army had the
advantage of the use of guerrilla tactics – they used the cover of the wooded
countryside to attack and retreat. They had the disadvantages of part-time militia
fighters, who sometimes went home to work on their farms, and problems of thieving,
drunkenness, and little discipline and smallpox disease. Washington began badly. In
1776 he ordered an invasion of the British-controlled Canada, but this plan failed.
Then New York was captured by the British. Washington was forced to retreat to
Pennsylvania. After this, many soldiers deserted. However, Washington then attacked
the British in Trenton in 1776 and in Princeton in 1777 and won both of these battles.
In 1777, after the battle in Princeton, the British captured Philadelphia. Washington
was forced to winter his troops in Valley Forge, as Philadelphia was thought to be in
charge of the other 13 colonies. Conditions were hard at Valley Forge. Many of the
soldiers’ legs froze until they were black with frostbite. The war ended abruptly in
1781 at the battle of Yorktown. Here the French navy in the sea, and Washington’s
army on land, surrounded the English officer Cornwallis and his troops and forced
them to surrender. In 1783, the treaty of Versailles was signed and the war was ended.
Washington became the president of the constitutional convention in Philadelphia and
presided over the drawing up of the American constitution. He then became the first
president of America, and was named “father of the united states”. He served two four
year terms and then returned to Mount Vernon, dying there in 1799.