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Founding Icon: 10 Interesting Facts About George Washington

Image of the signature of America's most famous founding father for an article that discusses interesting facts about George Washington

The many interesting facts about George Washington go way beyond him being the first President or crossing the Delaware River.

From his early life as a surveyor to his contributions as an innovative farmer, Washington was a man of many talents and complexities.

The cherry tree myth, his wooden teeth—so much lore surrounds this Founding Father, but how much do you really know?

Dive into this article to discover ten fascinating facts about George Washington that shed light on the man behind the legend.

We’ll explore his military career, his role in shaping the American presidency, and even debunk some long-standing myths.

So whether you’re a history aficionado or just curious about one of America’s most iconic figures, you’re in for an enlightening read.

Exploring 10 Interesting Facts About George Washington

Kicking off our list of facts about George Washington, let’s delve into his first job as a surveyor.

At just 17 years old, Washington began surveying lands in Virginia, an experience that honed his skills in wilderness navigation and land management.

1. Surveyor Before Soldier

Before George Washington became a revolutionary hero and the first President of the United States, he started his career as a surveyor.

At the age of 17, Washington was appointed as the official surveyor for Culpeper County, Virginia.

This wasn’t just a job; it was a profession that paid well and offered him a chance to explore the American frontier.

In fact, many of the skills he acquired during this time, like mapping and land assessment, later proved invaluable in his military career.

His meticulous work even earned him the opportunity to purchase land at a young age, setting the foundation for his future wealth and influence.

So, when you’re digging into facts about George Washington, don’t overlook this fascinating chapter that shaped the man who would shape a nation.

2. No Formal Education

Contrary to many of his contemporaries, George Washington did not have the privilege of a formal education. In fact, he was largely self-taught.

Nevertheless, he was an avid reader and used books to fill the gaps in his knowledge. Subjects like mathematics, surveying, and military strategy captivated his interest.

Moreover, his interactions with intellectuals and leaders of the time expanded his understanding of the world.

Through discipline and curiosity, Washington became one of the most well-rounded individuals of his era.

So, when considering facts about George Washington, it’s remarkable to note how he turned educational limitations into lifelong learning opportunities.

3. French and Indian War

George Washington’s military career kicked off during the French and Indian War, where he served as a colonel.

Initially, he led a small militia in the disastrous mission at Fort Necessity, which ended in surrender.

However, he learned valuable lessons from this early setback.

Subsequently, he served as an aide to British General Edward Braddock and survived a deadly ambush.

Later on, Washington was given command of the Virginia Regiment, responsible for defending the colony’s frontier.

Importantly, the war provided him with crucial military experience and exposure to British tactics.

4. Unanimous President

In 1789, George Washington became the United States’ first President through a unanimous vote by the Electoral College.

Congress played a vital role, officially counting the electoral votes to confirm his presidency.

Initially reluctant, Washington accepted the position due to overwhelming public support and a sense of duty.

His inauguration was held in New York City, which was then the temporary national capital.

During his time in office, he worked tirelessly to unite the new states and establish a strong federal government.

So, when looking at facts about George Washington, his unanimously-elected presidency and Congress’s role in it are pivotal moments that shaped American history.

5. Whiskey Rebellion

During his presidency, George Washington faced a significant domestic challenge in the Whiskey Rebellion.

In 1791, a federal tax on whiskey angered frontier farmers who often converted their grain to liquor.

In response, some took up arms in Pennsylvania. Washington, recognizing the threat to federal authority, took decisive action.

He personally led a militia force of 13,000 men to quell the uprising, marking the first and only time a sitting president led troops in the field.

Eventually, the rebels dispersed, and federal authority was upheld.

So, in the list of facts about George Washington, his hands-on role in the Whiskey Rebellion stands as a defining moment for both his presidency and the new federal government.

6. No Political Party

One of the most intriguing facts about George Washington is that he never belonged to a political party. In fact, he was wary of the divisive potential of partisan politics.

During his presidency, he worked to maintain neutrality, seeking to unite rather than divide.

Moreover, in his Farewell Address, he issued a strong warning against the “baneful effects” of political parties.

He feared they could lead to infighting and weaken the young nation.

Therefore, Washington’s non-partisan stance and cautionary words offer timeless insights into the challenges of political division.

7. Innovative Farmer

When it comes to facts about George Washington, many overlook his role as an innovative farmer. In fact, Washington was deeply committed to agricultural advancement at his Mount Vernon estate.

He experimented with crop rotation, soil conservation, and animal husbandry.

Notably, he shifted from tobacco to wheat farming, a move that proved more sustainable and profitable.

Additionally, he dabbled in fish farming and even operated a distillery.

Through his endeavors, Washington showcased a keen scientific mind and a focus on sustainability.

So, his farming expertise adds another layer to our understanding of this multifaceted Founding Father.

8. Teeth Troubles

One of the most enduring myths in the realm of facts about George Washington is that he had wooden teeth. In reality, this claim is far from true.

Washington struggled with dental issues throughout his life, often wearing dentures.

However, these were made from materials like ivory, human teeth, and even lead, but never wood.

He consulted with multiple dentists and his dental troubles even influenced how he spoke and ate.

So, while the tale of wooden teeth is catchy, the truth reveals the lengths Washington went to maintain his dental health.

9. Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon holds a special place in the compilation of facts about George Washington.

Initially inherited from his brother, the estate became Washington’s lifelong project and sanctuary.

He expanded the property, which eventually covered over 8,000 acres, and focused on farming innovation there.

Moreover, Mount Vernon served as a political and social hub, hosting countless guests and dignitaries.

During his presidency and after, it remained his cherished retreat.

So, Mount Vernon wasn’t just a home; it was an extension of Washington’s personality, ambitions, and contributions to American life.

10. Lasting Legacy

His enduring legacy cannot be ignored when discussing facts about George Washington.

As the first President, he set critical precedents that continue to shape American governance.

His decision to step down after two terms established a tradition of peaceful power transitions.

Moreover, his Farewell Address offered timeless wisdom on national unity and the dangers of partisanship.

He’s immortalized through monuments, currency, and even the nation’s capital named in his honor.

So, Washington’s influence stretches far beyond his lifetime, serving as a cornerstone for American ideals and institutions.

Biography: Interesting Facts About George Washington

Full Name:

George Washington

Date of Birth:

February 22, 1732

Place of Birth:

Westmoreland County, Virginia, British America

Date of Death:

December 14, 1799


Military General, statesman, and first President of the United States

Major Achievements:

  • Leading the American colonies to victory against British rule in the American Revolutionary War
  • Serving as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797


George Washington is often referred to as the “Father of His Country” and set the standard for what it means to be an American president.

His leadership during the American Revolution and the formative years of the United States left an indelible impact on the nation’s history.

He set numerous precedents for the national government and the presidency, including the two-term limit.

His actions and leadership style have influenced countless leaders and political thinkers, both in America and around the world.

Wrap-up: Interesting Facts About George Washington

In exploring these ten fascinating facts about George Washington, it’s clear that he was much more than just the first President of the United States.

From his early days as a surveyor to his innovative farming techniques, Washington’s life was a tapestry of experiences that shaped him into a leader of enduring relevance.

He navigated military challenges, political dilemmas, and even dental woes with a grace that set the tone for a fledgling nation.

So there you have it, a glimpse into the multi-dimensional life of a man often enshrined in marble and myth.

Whether you’re a history buff or a curious reader, these facts about George Washington offer a deeper understanding of a figure who, more than two centuries later, continues to captivate and inspire.

FAQs: Interesting Facts About George Washington

1. What were George Washington’s views on involvement in foreign affairs and alliances?

George Washington famously warned against foreign entanglements in his Farewell Address of 1796.

He advised the young United States to maintain commercial relations with other nations but to steer clear of permanent alliances that could draw the country into conflicts that were not in its national interest.

Washington stressed the importance of impartiality and neutrality, advocating for a focus on American interests above all.

His words on this topic have often been cited in discussions of U.S. foreign policy, serving as a foundational viewpoint on how the nation should interact with the rest of the world.

2. Is it true that George Washington cut down a cherry tree as a child?

The story of George Washington chopping down a cherry tree is widely known but is generally considered to be a myth.

According to the tale, young Washington used his hatchet to chop down his father’s cherry tree.

When confronted, he confessed and said, “I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet.”

Biographer Parson Weems popularized the story in the early 19th century as a way to illustrate Washington’s virtuous character.

While it is an anecdote about honesty, there’s no historical evidence to support that this event occurred.

3. What was George Washington’s cause of death?

George Washington passed away on December 14, 1799, at his beloved Mount Vernon estate.

The cause of his death is widely attributed to acute epiglottitis, a severe throat infection that obstructed his airway.

Washington fell ill after spending a day outside in wet, snowy weather, and his condition rapidly deteriorated despite medical interventions.

At the time, treatments included bloodletting and other now-outdated medical practices that likely worsened his condition.

His death was a significant event that marked the end of an era, and it led to a period of national mourning.

So, while the medical understanding of the time was limited, acute epiglottitis is generally considered the cause of his death.

References: Interesting Facts About George Washington