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French and Indian War

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French Indian War and George Washington: Shaping Our Countries Independence
HIST 101 American History to 1877
Nicholas R. Arrivey
American Military University
Professor Sine

The French and Indian War: Shaping Our Countries Independence The French and Indian War lasted from 1756 – 1763, lasting seven long years. Compared to other significant events in our great countries history (like the Revolutionary War), how could these mere seven years play such a huge role in shaping our countries independence? Could it be because of the outcome of the war? Or could it be because of the personnel who took part during the French and Indian War? One key person who was involved in this war and is a founding father of the country is President George Washington. His role in this war helped him gain leadership traits and abilities that guided him to shape the great country. The French and the British were involved in a conflict over the Ohio Valley during the early 1750s. The main conflict was due to the French and the British expanding their territories over the land while crossing paths in Ohio. The French had already set up trading posts in Ohio. Once the British entered into Ohio they also set up trading posts, which the French viewed as the British impeding on their commerce they gained from the Indians. Mount Vernon Non-Profit states, “In 1744 the Iroquois signed the Treaty of Lancaster with the British, which ceded Iroquois claims in Maryland and Virginia. While the Iroquois assumed that this meant the Shenandoah Valley and land already within settled colonial boundaries, the British interpreted it as the entire area of English claim.” This treaty gave the British way more rights than the Iroquois were ever willing to give up. Encyclopedia Britannica further states “In harmony with this treaty, the governor and council of Virginia had by the end of 1752 conditionally granted about 2,300 square miles (6,000 square km) of land in the Ohio Valley to settlers.” The dispute over who was rightfully entitled to the land and all commerce received in the Ohio Valley is ultimately what sparked the French and Indian War. One of the very historic figures in this war was a very young man with a huge ambition for pursuing a military career. Having very little experience in what he wished to do but having high ambitions lead Washington to never settle for less. Washington went into a military career with very little to offer those around him. Washington’s older half-brother (Lawrence Washington) received a commissioning as a military adjutant. Since it was common for a position of authority to be passed down within the family Washington was eventually appointed as an adjutant (administrative officer to a senior officer) after his older half-brothers death. As you can imagine, being an administrative assistant to very senior officers in the military Washington would start to pick up on rules, ideas, strategy, decision making abilities and would mature to a much higher level then he would have if he was in another billet less involved with senior leadership than this one. Part of Washington’s duties as an adjutant were “to instruct the militia officers and soldiers in the use and exercise of their arms, to increase discipline in the militia, and to teach the men of the lower classes how to be more civilized”, claims Mount Vernon Non-Profit. Being able to instruct and lead these people to meet the goal of being able to exercise arms, increase discipline and teach men to be more civilized sounds a like it could be a very loose version of a presidents job description. Along with everything he learned as an adjutant, Washington had a very long and honorable career in the army and climbed his way all the way up to the rank of a Major. Washington fulfilled roles of an emissary, recruiter and troop leader. He led troops into battle with his expertly developed military strategy and won confrontation after confrontation, sometimes without even having to fire a singe shot. It has become very clear that Washington has become a great leader through all of his positions and his inability to settle for less. Through a long and beneficial military career Washington ended up resigning from His Majesty’s Service ending his service as a leader of the Continental Army (Revolutionary War) and chairman of the Continental Congress. Mount Vernon Non-Profit claims when Washington “resigned his commission for the final time, it was with the knowledge that he could not succeed under the conditions of his service, even though his inclinations were strongly bent to arms. He finally accepted that a regular army commission at the rank he wanted would not be forthcoming.” Again, Washington is never settling for anything less. Moving forward, Washington was elected President on 30 Apr 1789 by 66 members of Congress. After reluctantly accepting Presidency proposed Washington be addressed and referred to as His Highness the President of the United States of America. Being the modest man that he has become, Washington decided to be addressed more simply as Mr. President. This modesty that Washington held throughout his life showed at the end of his term as president. Being elected as President was meant to be served as a King. You would remain in power until your death and at that time your heir to the thrown would step up. Washington did not see this fit for a free country and made a huge final decision as President. He declared the next President would be appointed by the people and of their own free will. This has set the standard for all elections yet to come and has set us apart from the rest of the worlds leadership. The numerous military years that molded Washington into the man he was elected to President as earned him the respect of all. His values and beliefs that were honed and sharpened over the years were not only those he held dear to himself, he shared and encouraged the people of this great country to follow the same. Although he did not force his will upon the people, he simply led by example.

References
Mount Vernon Non-Profit. George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Washington and the French & Indian War. Web. 24 Jan. 2003.
The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. North American History. French and Indian War. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.
History.com Staff. History.com. This Day in History. George Washington is Elected President. Web 01 Feb. 2009.

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