CASE 1—GETTING TO KNOW THE MAN BEHIND THE IMAGE

CASE 2—VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENT,PART I

CASE 3—VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENT, PART II

CASE 4—THE NORTHERN NECK

CASE 5—FAMILY BACKGROUND, PART I

CASE 6—FAMILY BACKGROUND, PART II

CASE 7—THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR, PART I

CASE 8—THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR, PART II

CASE 9—PLANTER, POLITICIAN, AND PATRIOT

CASE 10—THE MAN, PART I

CASE 11—THE MAN, PART II

CASE 12—THE MAN, PART III

CASE 13—THE MAN, PART IV

CASE 14—THE MAN, PART V

CASE 15—DEATH AND APOTHEOSIS

CASE 16—PRESERVING THE MEMORY

CLEMENTS LIBRARY

George Washington: getting to know the man behind the image.

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Case 3 —Virginia Environment—Part II

The one real urban and political center of colonial Virginia was Williamsburg. It was the capitol city, housing the Governor, the legislature, and the provincial courts. It was the site of the College of William and Mary, and it was home to the colony's only printing press.
When the House of Burgesses and the courts were in session, a significant percentage of Virginia' s leading citizens came to town, often with their families, to shop and socialize. It was a place any young man with expectations needed to visit and where be needed to be seen and "sized up." If you made a good impression on the governor and the politically and socially powerful families, doors of preferment could open quickly.

 
Williamsburg played a primary role in George Washington's career. Washington's brother, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all served in the Virginia legislature. The close relationship between the Fairfax and Washington families gave George an initial advantage. He was tall, athletic and handsome in a very rugged sort of way -comparable, perhaps to a young John Wayne or Mel Gibson--that was equally attractive to men and women. He was someone everyone noticed when he came into a room. People liked him, and he gave the immediate impression of credibility and competence. He was ambitious, politic, and he knew how to make the best of his opportunities.
   
In 1749, at age seventeen, Washington was examined at the College of William and Mary and given a commission as official Surveyor of Culpepper County. It was to Williamsburg that Washington traveled to secure the military commissions of the 1750s and the place where he published the account of his expedition to Pennsylvania in 1754. He served as a member of the House of Burgesses from 1759 until 1774 and was there appointed member of Continental Congress in 1774 and 1775—the briefly held position that brought about his appointment as Commander in Chief of the army.