In December 1779, the Continental Army under George Washington made camp at Morristown, New Jersey, where they suffered through the “Hard Winter” of 1779–1780. The army faced unrelenting snow storms, sub-freezing temperatures, lack of supplies, and hunger.
American and French forces under General Lafayette attacked the British at Yorktown, Virginia. It was the last major battle of the Revolution. On October 17, 1781, British general Charles Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington.
In the Newburgh Conspiracy, Continental officers who had long been waiting to receive pensions and back pay from Congress threatened to revolt against a “country that tramples on your rights.” Washington convinced military leaders to resist sedition.
The Constitution provided only a broad outline of the office and powers of the president. It was up to George Washington, as the first president, to define the office. It was unclear, for example, whether the president was to personally run the executive branch or, instead, serve as a constitutional monarch and delegate responsibility to the vice president and executive officers (the cabinet). Washington favored a strong and active role for the president. Modeling the executive branch along the lines of a general’s staff, Washington...