What Were George Washington’s Successes and Failures?

George Washington experienced many successes in his lifetime, with the greatest of them being elected the first president of the United States and leading the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Among his failures was furthering partisanship by siding with some of the views of Alexander Hamilton. He is also often criticized for being a slave owner and not freeing his personal slaves during his lifetime.

Historians generally cite his military achievements as being paramount in the American Revolution. He moved through the military ranks, earning acclaim for his exploits against the French and British. His leadership of the Continental Army saw it defeat Great Britain and emerge as an independent country. When calls for him to become the king of the newly formed country were issued, he refused the position. He established the position of President of the United States and held the office from April 1789 until March 1797, also setting the precedent for a two-term limit for sitting presidents.

When Washington left the office of president to return to farming, the national debt was well managed and there was peace throughout the country. One of his greatest legacies is that he set a precedent for presidential power that could be exercised when necessary while keeping the balance of power in check due to the government’s three branches.