The first presidential election in the United States was held on January 7, 1789. George Washington won with a unanimous electoral vote and served for two terms. Here are five interesting facts about our first president that you may not know...
He Originally Served as an Officer Under The British George Washington served under British Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia and was sent by Dinwiddie to the Ohio Territory to deal with the encroachment of the French. After the French refused to leave, Dinwiddie once again sent Washington, now a lieutenant colonel, to confront them with a contingent of 160 soldiers. The ensuing skirmish caused Washington to surrender at Fort Necessity July 3, 1754. The event was a catalyst for the Seven Years War.
That Cherry Tree Story? It's a Myth The story was invented by Parson Mason Weems who wrote a biography of George Washington shortly after Washington's death. Since so little is known about Washington's childhood, Weems invented several anecdotes about Washington's early life to illustrate the origins of the heroic qualities Washington exhibited as an adult. Introduced to countless schoolchildren as a moral tale in the McGuffey Reader textbook, the parable has become a persistent part of American mythology.
He Tried to Refuse The Presidential Salary Washington decided to forgo the presidential paycheck during his time in office, but in the end he was forced to accept it because of its implications on presidential precedent. Article II of the Constitution states that the chief executive is required to be paid. This rule was established to ensure that less wealthy people could run for office without relying on bribery or corruption. Congress decided at the time that the president would be paid $25,000 a year. Presidents now are paid $400,000, which some, including Donald Trump, have pledged to donate to charity.
He Does Not Have a Middle Name Many people are given three names at birth, but not Washington. Middle names weren't that common in the colonies until the start of the 19th century. According to his Mt. Vernon estate, only five of the first 20 US presidents had middle names.
He Created His Own Dog Breed George Washington loved dogs, and he loved fox hunting, so it was only natural for him to want to breed the perfect foxhound. Because of his work, he is occasionally called the father of the American Foxhound, according to Animal Planet. He owned 36 of these pups, and gave them unusually mushy names like Sweet Lips, Tipsy, Venus, and True Love.