George Washington (1732-1799) was commander of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and the first president of the United States of America. A Virginia planter, surveyor, and land speculator, he sought a commission in the British Army before the Revolution, but in the 1770s, he became an early advocate for separation from Great Britain. During the war, he became synonymous with the cause of independence.
By the end of the Revolution, Washington was the most revered person in America. His support for the Constitution drafted at Philadelphia in 1787 was crucial to the ratification of the new government; virtually everyone assumed that he would be the nation's first president. By the end of his presidency, his reputation was scarred by the sectional and philosophical divisions that emerged during the 1790s. But at his death in 1799, he still enjoyed a unique status in American public life.