How Did George Washington Become Famous?

George Washington became famous during the Revolutionary War as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and afterward his fame increased as he served two terms as the first president of the United States. Now known as the "father of his country," Washington's face appears on the $1 bill and the quarter, and the nation's capital city and many schools and other institutions are named after him.

Though Washington saw action in the French and Indian War, he had resigned his commission, married and begun farming at his estate in Mount Vernon when the Revolutionary War began. He was a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1774, and at the Second Continental Congress in 1775, he was appointed general and commander in chief of the colonial militia. As commander he won few battles, but he kept the army together and managed to remain one step ahead of the enemy. With the help of their French allies, the Americans outlasted the British and won the war. When they did, Washington retired once again to Mount Vernon.

In 1787, Washington accepted an invitation to help draft the new constitution. In the nation's first election, Washington won unanimous approval of the Electoral College, the only president ever to have done so. He performed the duties of his office responsibly, realizing that his deeds would set patterns for presidents to follow. With his health declining, he refused to seek a third term as president and died of a cold and throat infection on Dec. 14, 1799, at Mount Vernon.