By Zach Foster
It’s no mystery that President’s Day is yet another symbolic American holiday degraded to becoming an excuse to sell cars, mattresses, and throw barbeques. Many Americans can’t even grasp a rough idea of what the holiday represents. This phenomenon of ignorance is not uncommon in today’s society. Let us explore this holiday and the meaning behind it.
President’s Day was originally observed as George Washington’s birthday and became a federal holiday via an 1880 act of Congress. It was celebrated on
’s actual birthday (February 22) until the mid twentieth century, when the observance of the holiday changed to the third Monday of February, making it easier for the country to rest and observe the holiday on a weekday, much like Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. Over time, people also began to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday since he was also born in February (February 9). Let us take a moment to observe the contributions that George Washington made for the Washington . United States
George Washington was born to wealthy
plantation owners. In his youth he grew close to the Virginia family who helped him enter his career as a soldier in the Fairfax militia. Though his rash actions as a military surveyor helped spark the French and Indian War (known in Europe as the Seven Years’ War), his ability to learn, adapt, and lead soon paid off for the British Army and Colonial militias in battle. After the war he retired to his plantation and was known as a skilled businessman (and his continually being ripped off by British corporations planted his seed of resentment against Virginia ). His reputation as a military hero gave the Continental Congress confidence in his military leadership ability, landing him the position of Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army when the Revolutionary War began. Great Britain
When the idea of crowning George Washington became popular after the war, he retired from the military and enjoyed a private life rather than seek power. However, as a statesman he presided over the Constitutional Convention, subscribing to the popular belief that the Articles of Confederation were too weak to be the law of the land. During his tenure as the First President of the
, he managed to uphold United States neutrality in the British-French conflicts and presided over a free market economy. He promoted the use of the national government for improving infrastructure and opening the western frontier to the American people. He also promoted nationalism, saying that the name of ‘American’ must override any local attachments. Though he agreed with the programs of the Federalist Party, he never joined a political party, believing that political parties were the basis of civil strife and division. He believed that no President should serve more than two terms, prompting British King George III to say, “If he twice gives up power, he is the greatest man alive.” He did. He passed away at the age of sixty-seven. To this day he is known as the Father of Our Country. In 1976 President Gerald Ford posthumously promoted U.S. to six-star general so that no twentieth century five-star general would outrank the Father of Our Country. Washington