The third Monday in February is Presidents’ Day in the USA.
In February, the United States honors two great American presidents: Abraham Lincoln, on February 12th, and George Washington, on February 22nd. These two days are combined into one legal holiday on the third Monday in February, called Presidents’ Day.
Both presidents have been honored in different ways. George Washington is the only president to have a state named after him. The nation’s capital, Washington D.C., also has his name. There are cities, towns, streets, schools, bridges, and parks named after both President Lincoln and President Washington. Both have famous memorials in Washington, D.C. Their portraits also appear on postage stamps, bills, and coins. Washington’s house in Mount Vernon and Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois, have been made into museums.
G E O R G E W A S H I N G T O N
George Washington is known throughout American history as “The Father of His Country”.
Washington played an important role during the French and Indian War which later gave him the knowledge and insight to help with the fight for freedom during the American Revolution.
Washington served as Commander in Chief of the Continental Armies. America won it’s independence with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. George Washington was elected and served as the first president of the United States.
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, near Bridges Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia, where he spent the first three or four years of his childhood. His home, known as the Wakefield Estate was accidentally burned during the Revolutionary War. After his father’s death, 11-year-old George became the ward of his half brother, Lawrence. Washington’s favorite subject at school was arithmetic. When he was 14, he wanted to become a sailor, but his mother would not allow it. Instead, he decided to explore the frontier, and at the age of 15, became an assistant to local surveyors. At the age of 20 he began managing Mount Vernon. He enjoyed farming. Later in his life he took great pride in being regarded as the “first farmer” of the land.
His interests included riding, fox hunting, duck hunting, fishing, dancing, and theatrical performances. He also played billiards and cards and ran his own horses in races. He excelled in all outdoor activities. As a member of Virginia society, Washington insisted on the best clothes, which he bought in London. As a landowner, he owned slaves, as was the custom of the times, but was a model master. He took care in feeding and clothing his slaves, always had a doctor at hand, and refused to take part in selling any of his slaves. He was totally against such behavior.
George Washington was a respected military leader, having distinguished himself during the French and Indian War, and did much to help young American nation achieve its independence. Washington became the successful and beloved Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War (fought against the British, 1775-1781).
He was also called upon to lead the Constitutional Convention in 1787, whose purpose was to create a proper constitution for the newly formed Union. Because of the leading role he had played in the Revolution and in defining the new government, George Washington was unanimously elected first President of the United States and served two terms.
When Washington was first elected, the nation’s capital was New York City. In 1790, the capital was moved to Philadelphia. Congress agreed to move the capital to a federal district on the Potomac River in 1800. Washington spent much time on the plans for this city that would later bear his name.
On December 12, 1799, he rode his horse for several hours in cold, snowy weather and returned home quite ill. He died two days later. He died on December 14, 1799, at Mount Vernon at the age of 67. The news of his death was received with sorrow both in the United States and in Europe.
Washington was one of the United States’ greatest heroes. That is why he is called the Father of His Country.
Do you know that …
George Washington was the first elected president of the U.S.
He was the only president to be elected unanimously.
He served the second term of office and refused a third term.
Cherry pie is a traditional food for Washington’s birthday because of a popular legend. It is said that as a boy Washington chopped down his father’s cherry tree. When asked by his father, heconfessed his wrongdoing and said “I cannot tell a lie.”
George Washington was one of the richest presidents.
His famous false teeth were made of hippopotamus teeth.He was the first president to appear on a postage stamp.
His favorite vegetable was onion.
His favorite sports were horseback riding and fishing.
A B R A C H A M L I N C O L N
Three states can claim Abraham Lincoln as a favorite son. Born in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809, young Lincoln moved with his family to Indiana when he was seven years old, and then to Illinois when he was a young man of 21.
His childhood was spent on the American frontier. As he grew, two characteristics set Abe aside from other boys his age. One was his size and strength, and the other was his eagerness for knowledge. Growing to a height of 6 feet 4 inches, Lincoln rivaled his peers in rough frontier sports. At the age of 22, he was able to throw the strongest man of the neighborhood in a wrestling match.
Lincoln’s uneducated parents encouraged his eagerness for knowledge. They saw to it that he and his sister attended schools organized by wandering teachers, regardless of the cost. Unfortunately, such schools never continued for very long. Lincoln was mostly self-educated. He read over and over the few books he could find. These included Aesop’s fables, Robinson Crusoe, a biography of George Washington, a history of the United States, the laws of Indiana, and the Bible.As a young man, Abe realized that his success in life would depend upon his education. With each new job, Lincoln searched for and borrowed books that would help him learn about his work. Between the ages of 22 and 27, he was a storekeeper, a postmaster, and a surveyor.
In 1836, he became a lawer in Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1834, where he served four two-year terms and became known for his frankness, honesty, and ability to tell droll stories. He then served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives – from 1847 to 1849.
Lincoln opposed the extension of slavery and debated Stephen A. Douglas over the injustise of slavery in an unsuccesssful aid for the U.S. Senate in 1858. After much hard work, he was elected President of the United States in 1861, just a few months before the Civil War began. He was the wartime leader of the country.
Believing that slavery was wrong, he put forth the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves, in 1863. Later that year, he gave the immortal Gettysburg Address during the dedication of the national cemetry at the site of a great, but costly, Union victory.
Lincoln was the first President to be assassinated. He was shot by actor John Whilkes Booth in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865, while watching a play at Ford’s Theater. The assassin thought he was helping the South.
Lincoln is considered one of America’s greatest and most loved leaders. He is praised and remembered for his belief in democracy, in the equality of all men and his fight for freedom for all. He believed slavery to be a cruel and evil practice.
Abraham Lincoln said:
The ballot is stronder than the bullet.
A house divided against itself cannot stand.
It is not best to swap horses while crossing the river.
Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people.
It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all the people all the time.
No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent.
Important principles may and must be flexible.
Do you know that…
Lincoln was the only President to patent an invitation.
His favorite sports were wrestling and weightlifting.
He was the first President to wear a beard and did so at the request of an 11-year-old girl.
He was the first President depicted on a coin.
He loved homebaked pies, especially those mailed to him by the woman of his home town.
Do the Tasks
Match words with similar meanings
- chop a. say no
- admit b. freedom
- wrongdoing c. tell the truth
- elect d. bring together
- refuse e. choose
- conflict f. with complete agreement
- independence g. fault
- ideal h. cut
- unanimously i. problem
- unite j. perfect
Cross out the word that does not belong
- chop a.meat b.wood c.milk d.onions
- admit a.a mistake b.an error c.a fault d.a television
- refuse a.a wall b.to eat c.a gift d.to sing
- elect a.apresident b.a spouse c.a senator d.a judge
- unite a.people b.countries c.a dress d.states
- a wrongdoing a.to help a sick person b.to steal c.to lie d.to hurt someone
Select the word that best completes the sentence
- George Washington (planted, chopped down) a cherry tree when he was young.
- President Lincoln was able to (ideal, unite) a country divided by slavery.
- Lincoln’s (ideals, independence) of democracy and freedom are admired by all people.
- Washington couldn’t lie; he (admitted, refused) chopping down his father’s tree.
- President Washington was (refused, elected) for a third term as president.
- The Civil War was a tragic (conflict, ideal) during Lincoln’s presidency.
- According to a legend, Washington felt guilty about his (wrongdoing, being helpful).
- Washington fought to gain the (independence, conflict) of the United States from Britain.
- Lincoln was (refused, elected) the 16th president of the U.S.
- Washington was the only president of the United States to be elected (independently, unanimously).
Select words to complete the sentences below
- The recipe said to cut the meat in very small pieces. The meat had to be _______________.
- The young couple finally came together. They were _______________.
- The friends talked about their problem instead of fighting. They solved their _______________.
- The boys wanted the girl to represent the class. She was _______________ to the job.
- The young man told his friends he finally had met the girl of his dreams. She was his _______________.
- The young man decided to move out of his parents house. He wanted his _______________ .
- The mother told the children to eat the spinach, but they did not want eat. They _______________ to eat it.
- The driver was afraid to say that the accident was his fault. He did not _______________ he was wrong.
- While playing in the street, the boys broke a window with their football and ran away. They were scared to admit their _______________.
- Everybody agreed Evelyn should be the treasurer. They elected her _______________.
Ask a question about each statement. The first word in each question has been written for you.
- George chopped down a cherry tree.
- He admitted his wrongdoing because he couldn’t lie.
- Lincoln was president during the conflict of the Civil War.
- Washington became very famous during the fight for independence.
- President Washington was elected unanimously.
- President Lincoln united the northern states and confederacy.
- In “The Gettysburg Address” President Lincoln expresses his ideals of democracy.
- George Washington was the first elected president of the United States.
- President Washington refused a third term.
10. George Washington wrongdoing was to chop down his father’s cherry tree.