301. George Washington: The Father of the Country

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There may be no greater American than George Washington. Washington became the first United States President in 1789 with his unanimous victory in the first American election. He was also unanimously elected to a second term in 1793, the only president ever to garner 100 percent of the electoral votes. Washington was also the Commander-in-Chief of the First Continental Army that fought the British when the country was not yet established.

His epic "Crossing of the Delaware" river to recover New York City is still considered one of the greatest military moves in the history of warfare. At the time of the crossing, the British had taken Boston and New York. The Continental Army was on the run and disorganized, but Washington had a plan. He decided to take his troops across the Delaware River in the middle of winter. This was a move that many military minds thought impossible, but not Washington. The Americans were able to take New Jersey, and change the course of the war.

Another landmark moment for Washington was the winter at Valley Forge. In 1777, Washington led an army of more than 11,000 troops into Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, where the army suffered through a cold winter that claimed the lives of 3,000 men. When the spring arrived, instead of a demoralized, beaten group of soldiers, the army emerged battle ready, and able to continue the fight against the English in New York. The army was able to survive the fierce winter because of the training, and preparedness of Washington's officers. Washington earned the nickname, "The Father of His Country," because of his military intelligence that led to the birth of the nation.

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