| American History Stories, Volume III|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Anecdotes from the time Washington became president through the War of 1812, the rise of Andrew Jackson, and the sectional differences leading to the Civil War. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 8-12 |
 Ad-min-is-tra'-tion is a large word, perhaps you think. But, after all, it
isn't very much larger than Revolution, or
Constitution; and when you come to know what it means,
and why we have to use it, you will find it just as
easy as many words which are perhaps not quite so long.
While a President holds his office we speak of it as
his administration; and those events which occur while
a certain person is President, are always spoken of as
the events of that President's administration.
Although it was no doubt a great honor to have been
chosen first President of the United States, and
although it must have been very pleasant to Washington
to know that his people so loved and trusted him, still
he knew there was hard, hard work ahead, and no little
worriment; for, although the States had accepted the
Constitution, still there were persons here and there
who still clung to the idea of having each State rule
itself without any President at all or any Congress;
others there were, who had wanted a king and who would
have much preferred to keep the government out of the
hands of the common people. All these critics were of
course watching every movement of the new President,
ready to find fault, and say, "Just what we expected,"
if the least thing went wrongly. Then, too, there were
other difficulties. The treasury was nearly
 empty, and no other nation was willing to lend money to
this new government; the Indians were rioting, burning
and plundering on the frontiers; pirates from the
Barbary States were attacking American ships and
putting American seamen into prison; Spain had refused
to allow the Americans the use of the Mississippi River
for their trade; England, too, would not make any
treaty of commerce with the new country—and, worst of
all, there was the empty treasury—no money with which
to raise armies to fight the Indians; no money with
which to send ships to attack the Barbary States; no
money to offer Spain; no money even with which to pay
the old debts of the Revolution. A perplexing place it
was, indeed, for Washington and his cabinet. But they
were equal to the occasion. Hamilton, the Secretary of
the Treasury, managed the money affairs so successfully
that he has ever since been held up as an example of
wisdom to all succeeding Treasurers. He established a
National Bank, and levied taxes in order to raise the
money which the government so much needed.
I shall not attempt to tell you how all these things
were brought about, for you could not understand it,
and it would not be very interesting to you even if you
All I want you to remember just now is, that Washington
and his Cabinet were very wise in their dealings with
all these troubles—so wise that, when, eight years
later, Washington retired from public life, the money
 were greatly improved, the Indians had been held back,
Spain had been made to allow the Americans the use of
the Mississippi, and the Barbary States had given up
the prisoners, and had promised not to interfere
further with American vessels.
The country, you see, was in a far better condition
than it had been when, eight years before, Washington
was made President.
As the President's term is four years, Washington had,
you will understand, served two terms. As the time for
a third election drew near, Washington resigned his
office, saying that he had tried to serve his country
faithfully through its darkest hours, and that now,
being sixty-five years old, he wished to retire to his
home at Mt. Vernon and spend the rest of this life in
rest and quiet.
There had been on all sides men who said, during
Washington's administration, "Washington will be King
yet. He means to be King. He will hold his office
until he is King." But I wonder what these men
said when, at the end of the second term, Washington so
quietly and modestly retired to his own home, thus
proving how little he cared for public life except when
his country needed him.
Washington did not live very long after his return to
his home. Not many months had passed when there came
news of his sudden death.
Every possible honor was paid this brave, good man, the
 Father of his Country, as he was called. In England
and France even, the highest honors were paid him. The
English ships were ordered to wear their flags at half
mast, and the French ruler ordered that the banners be
draped with crape.
Wherever Washington's name was mentioned, it was always
with tender reverence and love.
WASHINGTON'S GRAVE, MOUNT VERNON.
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