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Before the war, he worked to strengthen ties with Great Britain and Russia against the growing threat of The French Revolution was a watershed event in modern European history that began in and ended in the late s with the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte. In that time, he transformed the monarchy, ushered in a golden age of art and literature, presided over a dazzling royal court at The young couple soon came to symbolize all of the excesses of the reviled French monarchy, and Marie Antoinette herself became the target of a great deal The 16th-century Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto c.

In December , French officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason by a military court-martial and sentenced to life in prison for his alleged crime of passing military secrets to the Germans. The Jewish artillery captain, convicted on flimsy evidence in a highly irregular In , while leading an expedition in search of gold, he sighted A decade later, he was serving as governor of the eastern province of Hispaniola when he decided to explore a nearby island, which became In , Coronado led a major Spanish expedition This Day In History. The Arc de Triomphe. Hernando de Soto.

This exercise, now regarded as a formative influence in the development of his character, included guidelines for behavior and general courtesies. Eager for adventure, George wanted to join the British Navy, but his mother refused to let him. George read mathematical texts to learn the geometric principles necessary for surveying. One of the most important tools of the trade was a surveyor's compass.

Washington was well on his way to a successful and profitable career. In an effort to establish himself as a member of the gentry class, he worked hard, saved his money, and bought unclaimed land. George Washington was only 21 years old when he made a perilous journey across the Allegheny Mountains to command the French to withdraw from the Ohio region claimed by King George II.

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In the Governor of Virginia, Robert Dinwiddie, learned that French troops had moved south from Canada and were constructing forts in the region south of Lake Erie, an area claimed by Virginia but now in Western Pennsylvania. Both France and England recognized the commercial potential of the region. French trappers had been working in the area for some time, and Dinwiddie was concerned that the French troops would also fortify the forks of the Ohio -- the strategic point where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join to form the Ohio River.

This point, now Pittsburgh, was the eastern gateway to the Ohio Valley.

In the fall of Dinwiddie sent year-old Major Washington to deliver a message to the French, demanding they leave the area. With the help of a frontier guide and local Indians, Washington reached the French fort, Le Boeuf, with Dinwiddie's message. The return trip tested Washington's endurance. He hiked for days through snowy woods, fell off a raft into the ice-choked Allegheny River, nearly drowned, and was forced to spend a freezing night on an island without shelter. His guide, an experienced backwoodsman, suffered frostbite; but Washington suffered no ill effects. Washington's account of the arduous mile journey was published by Governor Dinwiddie in both Williamsburg and London, establishing an international reputation for George Washington by the time he was A few months later Dinwiddie dispatched Washington, now a lieutenant colonel, and some men to assert Virginia's claims.

As they advanced, Washington's men skirmished with French soldiers, killing 10 men, including the French commander. Washington then retreated to an ill-placed and makeshift palisade he called Fort Necessity. He was forced to surrender when the French surrounded the fort. The campaign ended in humiliation for Washington and ignited the French and Indian War. Although he resigned his commission after the surrender, Washington returned to the frontier in as a volunteer aide to General Edward Braddock. During the battle, while attempting to rally the British soldiers, Washington had two horses shot out from under him and four bullet holes shot through his coat.

Although he behaved with conspicuous bravery, Washington could do little except lead the broken survivors to safety. In recognition of his conduct, Washington was given command of Virginia's entire military force.

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With a few hundred men he was ordered to protect a frontier some miles long. Although this was a frustrating assignment, it provided him with experience in commanding troops through an arduous campaign. In the British finally took the forks of the Ohio. Peace returned to Virginia, and Washington resigned his commission to return to Mount Vernon, his duty faithfully performed.

On January 6th, , Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, a charming and vivacious young woman from the Tidewater area of Virginia.

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It was her second marriage, his first. Ironically, the spoiled and indolent young man had not fought in the war but had, at its end, traveled to Yorktown to serve as a civilian aide to his stepfather. Martha Washington joined her husband in his winter quarters every year of the war.

Together they entertained his officers and guests. A patriot in her own right, Mrs. Washington made it her war too, nursing sick and wounded soldiers and raising money for the troops. Needlework helped her to pass the time through the long, cold winters. In all, she would spend about half the war in camp. Washington loved his step-grandchildren as his very own. The first time George Washington ran for public office, he lost.

However, he won his second race and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses from until He worked constantly to improve and expand the mansion house and its surrounding plantation. He established himself as an innovative farmer, who switched from tobacco to wheat as his main cash crop in the 's.

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In an effort to improve his farming operation , he diligently experimented with new crops, fertilizers, crop rotation, tools, and livestock breeding. Over the years, Washington enlarged his house. First he raised the roof to create a third floor. Later he would add a wing to both ends, build a piazza overlooking the Potomac River, and crown his vision with a pediment and cupola. By the time of his death in , he had expanded the plantation from 2, to 8, acres consisting of five farms, with more than 3, acres under cultivation.

Shortly after taking up wheat as his main cash crop, Washington built a large gristmill outfitted with two pairs of millstones. One pair of stones ground corn into meal for use at Mount Vernon and the other ground wheat into superfine flour for export to foreign ports.

Washington also began making whiskey on the advice of his farm manager, James Anderson, a trained distiller from Scotland. He soon built one of the largest distilleries in America. As horses circled the second floor, they treaded on the wheat that had been spread there, breaking the grain from the chaff.

The wheat would fall through gaps in the floorboards to the first floor, where it was winnowed. After winnowing, the grain was taken to the gristmill and ground into flour. He even correctly calculated the number of bricks needed for the first floor — which turned out to be exactly 30,! At age 11, George Washington inherited 10 slaves from his father. As a young man, George was no different from other members of the Virginia planter class in his attitude that there was nothing morally wrong with slavery.

In , there were about 40 slaves living at Mount Vernon. Like his owner, Billy Lee was widely known as a courageous and expert horseman. As Washington prepared his will, he drew up a list of the Mount Vernon slaves who belonged to either the Custis estate or to him.

He found that altogether there were enslaved men, women, and children living at Mount Vernon. Some of these individuals worked in the fields, while others were employed as house servants or as craftsmen in more than a dozen specialties ranging from blacksmithing, to spinning, to bricklaying, weaving, and cooking, to name just a few. Washington made provisions in his will to free all of his own slaves but could not free those or the descendants of those whom Martha had brought to the marriage.

By freeing his slaves, George Washington tried to set an example for others to follow.

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He was the only slaveholder among the founding fathers to free all his slaves. General Washington leads the Continental Army to victory; defeating the British, and ensuring independence. Washington surrendering his military commission to Congress United States Senate. He wrote home to Martha that he expected to return safely to her in the fall.

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The command kept him away from Mount Vernon for more than 8 years. It was a command for which his military background, although greater than that of any of the other available candidates, hardly prepared him.