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History Lessons by Jonathan Gifford

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GEORGE WASHINGTON

(1732–1799)

George Washington, the first President of the United States, led the revolutionary army that was to defeat the British Empire, and turned the 13 east-coast colonies—from Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the north to South Carolina and Georgia in the south—into the 13 “United States” of America. In the late eighteenth century, outside of the original 13 colonies, the majority of the land west of the Appalachians belonged to American Indians, and the land west of the Mississippi was claimed by Spain. The modern United States of America was still a long way in the future.

A man of commanding personal presence, Washington came to personify the struggle against the British. As commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, ...

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