Sarah Jean Seman

George Washington, the first president of the United States, has once again been ranked the nation's "greatest Founding Father," according to a Rasmussen Reports poll.

Looking back at America’s history, 40% consider George Washington the greatest Founding Father. Twenty-three percent (23%) consider Thomas Jefferson America’s greatest Founding Father, while 14% say that of Benjamin Franklin. Only six percent (6%) think that title belongs to John Adams, and five percent (5%) say James Madison.

Washington has been seen as the greatest Founding Father every year except one since 2006. In 2012, Jefferson edged out the first president with 35%.

Maybe Americans consider George Washington to be our greatest Founding Father because he appears on the one dollar bill and served as our first president. Or, maybe, it's because he's a man of the people. Either way, here are a few different reasons why George Washington is both respected and loved by the American people.

1. Became a success without ever attending college:

The death of Washington’s father in 1743 ended George’s formal education. Unlike his father and two older half-brothers, lack of money prevented the boy from studying in England, and unlike many of the Founding Fathers, Washington did not attend college. Always sensitive to this lack of formal education, Washington embarked upon a lifelong pursuit of self-education. Washington was an avid reader and was continually seeking the latest texts on a variety of subjects ranging from military arts to agriculture and political topics.

2. Was the only president to be unanimously elected.

3. Owned the nation's largest alcohol distillery, making it almost a patriotic duty to drink on July 4th:

Washington began producing whiskey at the suggestion of his plantation manager, who was Scottish. The new distiller first began by purchasing a copper still, but his first batch was so successful that he bought three more stills and built a larger distillery.

In 1798, the year before his death, Washington’s distillery produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey and produced a profit of $7,500. That was an enormous sum of money over 200 years ago.

4. Refused to accept a government salary, yet was the richest of all the presidents.

Indeed, he was such an excellent entrepreneur that he became the richest of any American president, with an estimated net worth of $525 million. Too bad he is not alive today to share a few tips with the Clintons.

5. Lost more battles than he won...and didn't give up:

The Battles of Fort Necessity, Monongahela, Long Island, White Plains, Fort Washington, Brandywine, and Germantown were all battles that Washington either directly led or played an important role in…and in each of these battles Washington’s forces were defeated. Despite this roster of tactical defeats, Washington brought many important characteristics to his military command. His ability to rally men under fire, his ability to sustain the Continental Army’s morale, his administrative talents, and his grasp of the larger strategic imperatives all made Washington the great general that history remembers and celebrates.

Happy fourth of July, everyone!


Sarah Jean Seman

Sarah Jean Seman is a Townhall Web Editor. Follow Sarah Jean Seman on Twitter @sarah_jean_

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography