George Washington (1732-1799) began his professional career as a land surveyor in Virginia and was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses where he was an outspoken critic of British rule. He was named Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army at the Second Continental Congress in May 1775. From 1775 to 1783 he led his poorly trained, ill-equipped troops to victory over the British in the Revolutionary War and accepted the surrender of the British General Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781. The American colonists held him in such high esteem that he was the unanimous choice for first President when the Republic was formed. He served from 1789 to1797.