Synopsis by John Patrick Sheehan
Part of the Biography television series from A&E, this documentary reviews the career and personal life of the first president of the United States George Washington. In 1774, Washington participated in the First Continental Congress and took command of the Virginia militia; by the next year the Second Congress, impressed with his military experience and commanding personality, made him commander in chief of the Continental army. Washington led the American forces through the Revolution. Notable among his achievements were his bold crossing of the Delaware to rout enemy forces at Trenton on Christmas night of 1776 and his holding the army together during the terrible winter encampment at Valley Forge in 1777-8. His victory over the British at Yorktown (1781) effectively ended the war. In 1789, the first electors unanimously voted Washington as president; he was reelected in 1793. As president he dealt with the growing tension in government between the visions of Hamilton's Federalist Party, who pushed for a strong central government, and Jefferson's liberal Democratic-Republican Party, which advocated states rights. In 1796 Washington announced he would not run again and retired from office the next year. In 1798, he accepted command of a provisional American army when it appeared there would be war with France, but the threat passed. The following year, Washington died at Mount Vernon and was mourned around the world.