In 1754, at the age of 22, he became a lieutenant colonel in the Army. He fought in the first skirmishes of what grew into the French and Indian War. The following year he escaped injury in battle although four bullets ripped his coat and two horses were shot from under him. His military experience taught him valuable lessons in leadership he would use later in his political life.
From 1759 to the outbreak of the American Revolution, Washington managed his lands. He married Martha Dandridge Custis and devoted himself to farming life. However, he felt exploited by British merchants and British regulations. In 1775, he took command of his ill-trained troops and embarked upon a war that was to last six grueling years. He forced the surrender of the British at Yorktown in 1781.
Washington entered politics and became a prime mover in the steps leading to creating the Constitution in 1787. After the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected him as the USA's first President. Washington avoided further wars and promoted the importance of federal power. He died in 1799 and was hailed as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen".