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Happy Birthday, Washington!

Happy Birthday, Washington!

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Updated on Dec 13, 2012

He cut down the cherry tree. He said, "I shall not tell a lie." He looked smashing in that topcoat. We've heard a lot of rumors about George Washington – but who exactly was he?

Today's the perfect time to find out. February 18, 2008 marks President's day, designed to give recognition to America's founding presidents (George Washington's birthday was actually on the 22nd). Just in case your kids ask you, here's a cheat sheet on the guy sitting pretty on your $1bills.

11 Facts About the Original George W.

  • Washington had little formal education.
  • He was good at making lemonade out of lemons. At the urging of his friend John Adams, he accepted the command of the Continental Army in July 1775. His first "soldiers" were actually a spotty group of militiamen, who he turned into a national army. He made friends with the French and sent the Red Coats running.
  • Washington was the presiding officer over the powwows that eventually produced the U.S. Constitution. His presence helped keep egos in check and infighting at bay.
  • After the war, he really just wanted to retire to Mount Vernon, but reluctantly agreed to serve as our nation's first president.
  • Washington survived the beginnings of a coup attempt in 1783.
  • The President is known for his sense of values – he steadfastly refused to place personal gain over personal honor.
  • His nickname was "The Old Roman."
  • He is the only president in history to be elected unanimously – he received all 69 of the electoral votes cast.
  • He wasn't much of a fashion guy. He said no to the powdered wig, which was high style at the time.
  • Washington had lots of good things going for him, but his teeth weren't one of them. He wore dentures. In fact, his inaugural speech had to be kept to a scant few minutes because of his false teeth.
  • He's the only president not to have lived in Washington D.C. during his presidency. That's because at the time, the nation's capital was in Philadelphia.
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