The states had been dependent on England but wanted no more of it. They had been
in fact 13 independent republics, and they wanted no more of that either. No one
knew how the new Constitution would work or how it would effect the freedom of
the states. Washington was determined to build a real federal government for the
United States. The new government was launched April 30, 1789, when Washington
took his oath as president in New York City, the first national capital. In 1792
the nation reelected him to a second term. Washington appointed John Jay as
chief justice of the Supreme Court, Edmund Randolph attorney general, Thomas
Jefferson Secretary of State. General Henry Knox Secretary of War, and Alexander
Hamilton took over the Department of the Treasury. He avoided personal
favoritism in his appointments. George organized his Cabinet into an executive
council in basically the same structure as it is today. He proceeded with the
Cabinet and Congress cautiously at the beginning of his presidency. The
government was new and relationships were strained and unsure. Both the
administration and the legislature were trying the waters of sentiment, testing
its own power. One of the first problems he took up was national defense.
“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving
peace,” he said. Another problem was national finance. The government under
the Articles of Confederation was unable to govern largely because it lacked the
power to tax. The Constitution gave this power to certain kinds of property.
Money was soon paid into the treasury, and bills were settled. Congress even
agreed to assume debts incurred by the individual states during the Revolution.
The tasks Washington were credited for were a result of his relationship with
the government he was involved in creating. Througout his presidency George
established the use of the cabinet, and how to use the governments power without
overstepping its bounds. George Washington remains a critcal part of American
history, because he set the precedent for the presidency. The point remains, if
Washington would have made any critical mistakes we may not have the government
we have today, there may not have been another president. We owe our success as
a country partly to George Washington, for Gods sake he implemented
Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday.