level English resource.
The story of
America's first president
Americans know about George Washington. He was the first
president of the United States of America, and his face appears on the
iconic one dollar bill. He has also given his name to the
city of the USA, Washington D.C, .... and to a state, the state of
Washington. No other American is quite so famous !
Washington's portrait is on the iconic one dollar bill
An unforgettable president ...
If you had to sum up
Washington's life in one word, that word would have to be unforgettable
George's story is one of travel and adventure, full of
risks and, most of all, full of glory.
After all, in 1789, he was
elected the first president of the United States, a country that was to
become the most powerful in the world. At the end of his life, in 1799,
George was an international hero.
But, if you look back into
George's early years, you will see that things were not always so rosy
George was sent into the Army as a very young man. For a colonist
his generation, it was a respectable thing to do. It gave him an
opportunity to make a
, and at the same time see the country,
which at the time was full of wild animals and Indians. It was a tough
life, but an interesting one. One could hunt
forever in the
forests. One could explore new lands seemingly
Nature, George became a surveyor
with the Army, a job which led him
further and further into the wild, unknown country. As for the Indians,
they were generally friendly, and were good trading partners. All
in all, George's young years were full of carefree wandering
in a new,
Washington rides to battle in the French & Indian war
Yet suddenly one day, the threatening
came: wild animals and Indians were not the only inhabitants of the
scouts had found French soldiers on the other side of the
Appalachians. It was said that the French claimed all land west of the
mountains for New France. This was bad news for the governor of
Virginia, who wanted the same land — at all costs.
In his quest
get the land beyond the mountains, the governor called upon his best
soldier to deal with
situation: it was young George Washington, barely 22
years old at the time. The governor told George to go
and find the French,
and give them a simple message: leave the region immediately, or get
ready for battle.
Wanting to serve and please his
authorities, George did as he was told. He went over the mountains with
a small army, found the French, and passed on the governor's message.
But, of course, the French did not wish to leave. Inevitably, the
conflict developed into a war, known as the French and Indian War
that is, the French and some Indian allies fighting the British
For George, it was a difficult time. To cut a long
it was the only time in his life that he had
an army — at Fort Necessity, near the forks of the Ohio
battle, George nearly didn't become the first president of the United
States. His army was surrounded by the French and Indians, badly outnumbered
, so he
to surrender the fort. Luckily for him, the French allowed him and
his army to leave with their horses and guns. The battle had been lost,
the English, who were more numerous, eventually won the war.
French and Indian War was a learning experience for George, one that he
would later exploit in the War for American Independence. Indeed,
twenty years later, George was dressed in an American uniform, and
fighting not against the French, but against the British.
In this war,
it is said that George's fiery
leadership inspired his American troops
when they were starving
and cold, and he emerged from the war as the
It was no surprise that the victorious Americans chose him
as their first president. As for getting his picture on the
dollar bill, that didn't come until after George was long dead and
gone, proving that his spirit was truly an unforgettable one.
to give a brief review or summary -
nice - colonist :
(in the USA at
the time) a man from England - make a living:
money to live - hunt :
chase wild animals - seemingly:
person who measures land - trading
people with whom one buys and sells -
casual, with no worries or responsibilities
- threatening news:
news of danger - quest:
- deal with:
confront, handle -to cut a long story
in short - forks of the Ohio:
where the Ohio river begins, from two other rivers -
having many less men than the enemy -
strongly emotional - starving:
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Select the nearest equivalent to these expressions which occur in the
Make up questions to which these are the answers, using the question
was to become
a. had become -
b. was going to become -
c. should have become
2. claimed all land
a. had occupied all land -
b. were asking for all the land -
c. considered that all land belonged to them.
3 passed on the
a. did not mention the
governor's a message -
b. said that the governor would send them a message -
c. told them what the governor had said;
4 nearly didn't become
the first president
a. was almost killed. -
b. almost found the first president. -
c. almost decided to join the French.
5 was a learning
a. was a new experience. -
b. was something that taught him a lot. -
c. was a very difficult experience.
- In 1799 (when)
- French soldiers . (what)
- Because he wanted it too (why)
- To go out and find the French.
- The French and the Indians. (who or whom)
- At Fort
- With his fiery leadership. (How)
- Much later
long after his death. (when)
The passive: Get students to think up sentences about George Washington
using the passive voice. There are several examples in the article, for
example : he
elected the first president of the United States, George was sent into
the Army as a very young man.
Reading for information :
Ask students to pick out as many words and phrases as possible that
thell us what sort of a man George Washington was.
What makes a superhero?
Ask pupils to describe their superhero, and explain why he (she) is so
copyright Linguapress 1988 - 2017.
Revised 2017 . Based on an article originally published in Freeway,
the intermediate level
newsmagazine. Republication on other websites or in print is not