American constitution is one of the oldest written legal documents that allow a federally setup government at the centre. It is also one of the shortest. The beginning of American constitutionalism starts with the events that unfolded in 18th century Americas, during which modern day United States was divided into several colonial possessions of France, Britain and Spain, with only some small territories with the Dutch and Swedes. It was a time of violent chaos in the country. Colonial ambitions were such that rulers never really sat in peace seeing others gaining territory and political power.
Great Britain at this point of time was one of the largest and most aggressive of colonial powers and had a deep interest into American resources for strengthening its own empire and plant the seeds of industrialisation that would earn the tag ‘workshop of the world’ in the coming century. The United States was primarily divided into three spheres during this era. The eastern half of the country was composed of 13 autonomous states ruled by the British crown. These states were collectively known as the Thirteen Colonies and would act as the spearhead of rising resistance against the British. The Thirteen colonies would also be the political and industrial centre for the rest of the country after gaining independence.
With the Thirteen Colonies to the east, the middle portion of U.S was under the French crown while the western most part was Spanish, ranging all the way down to Mexico that got separated in the 1800s as a different nation. During the years that followed, several political developments had led the Thirteen Colonies to declare war on Great Britain because of several factors that had primarily alienated the American citizenry from British rule. One of these primary factors was direct rule from the parliament, a move zealously resisted by Americans, asserting the opinion that a separate parliamentary function be constituted for the colonies in Americas. The move was cited by most Americans as a tyrannical conduct on part of the British, citing also other factors such as ‘no tax without representation’.
The years that followed only developed into a more conflicting situation, with several citizens in the colonies rebelling against the crown. The rebellion soon turned into a full-scale war with the French proving to be the biggest ally for the Americans. At this point of time, George Washington was the
Commander-in-Chief of the continental army of the colonies, a loosely fit conventional army recruited in the colonies and made up of certain regular troops aided by militias and citizen troops (often referred to as ‘minutemen’).
George Washington’s legacy and contribution towards the American country is immense and is lauded with much respect and acclaim not just in the United States but elsewhere in the world as one the ‘founding fathers of modern democracy’ characterised by a sense of republic nationalism and non-partisanship. He is indeed considered one of the most influential of all American presidents till date and has been repeatedly ranked as one of the top three presidents to have ‘designed’ a country from scratch. His qualities regarding strong leadership abilities and a commitment toward republicanism is one of his many few facets that earn him a name seen on every dollar note and monument across the US and acts as a catalyst of inspiration for several notable presidents that have succeeded him and put his ideas and decisions time and again on the national frontier.
George Washington was born to a wealthy family of landowners and tobacco planters in the territory of Colonia Virginia that he inherited. He joined the militia ranks in his youth, ranking up to officer grades during the French and Indian War and would get selected as a fully commissioned commander-in-chief of the continental army in 1775 at the Second Continental Congress.
George Washington would successfully fight the British and oust them, once getting decisively defeated himself at the defeat at New York City in 1776, after forcing the British out of there in the same year. Escaping capture eventually, Washington would defeat two large British armies at the fields Trenton and Princeton, retaking N. Jersey and restoring the cause of patriots.
Would you like to read more about this topic? This book might interest you: American Presidents.