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George Washington was born on his fathers estate in Westmoreland County Virginia on February 22 1732 He was the oldest son of a Virginia farmer Augistine Washington by his second wife Mary Ball The Washington family was descended from two brothers John and Lawrence Washington who emigrated from England to Virginia in 1657 The familys rise to modest wealth in three generations was the result of steady application to farming land buying and development of local George seemed to have received most of his schooling from his father and after the fathers death in 1743 from his older half-brother Lawrence The boy enjoyed mathematics and he applied it to acquiring a knowledge of surveying which was a skill greatly in demand in a country where people were seeking new lands in the West For the Virginians of that time the West meant the upper Ohio River valley Throughout his life George Washington maintained a keen interest in the development of these western lands and from time to time he bought properties for himself Under the terms of the Constitution the formal election for the president was done by electors who were collectively called the Electoral College Each elector was to vote for the two persons he considered most qualified the winner would be the president and the runner-up would be the vice president The electors themselves were chosen January 7 1789 by the direct vote of the people in some states and by the legislature in other states The electors met en each state on February 4 and unanimously voted for George Washington who thereby became president Their second choice far from unanimous was John Adams of Massachusetts This pleased Washington because he had feared that the vice presidency might ho to Governor George Clinton of New York who favored drastic amendment of the constitution Washington considering these amendments dangerous had allowed amendment word to go out that votes for Adams would be agreeable
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