US Presidents

2019 Week 8 Dataset and Historical Background

Posted by David Velleca on February 18, 2019

Historical Background

Today, Monday, February 18th is Presidents' Day, or more accurately, the observance of George Washington's birthday. Born on February 22, 1732 as a British citizen, in Virginia, he was the first child born to Augustine and Mary Ball Washington (Augustine's second wife - he had 4 children with hist first wife). Washington spent his early years living on, and eventually running, his family's plantation at Mount Vernon.

Following his late brother's footsteps, Washington joined the military at age 20 in 1752. He saw action in the French and Indian War, being made a colonel and Commander-in-Chief of the Virginia Regiment. During this time, he led up to 2,500 soldiers, and gained experience that would be vital to the success of the Patriots in the Revolutionary war.

Fast forward a bit, and the Revolutionary War began on April 19, 1775. Washington joined the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and on June 14, 1775, he was nominated to be Commander-in-Chief of the new Continental Army, and confirmed the following day. We're not going to go into the history of the Revolutionary War (maybe there's a future dataset there), but despite a sizeable disadvantage versus the British forces, Washington saw success leading the Continental Army.

Satisfied with his work leading the Army, he resigned his commission in late 1783, but before doing so recommended that Congress keep a standing army, establish a navy and found a military academy. After enjoying a break from his time in the military, Washington joined the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia where he was unanimously chosen as the president general of the convention.

The efforts of the Convention set the ball in motion for the first Presidential Election, with the state electors voting for Washington over John Adams, who was made the first Vice President. With the Presidency a new concept, Washington paved the way for future Presidents, succesfully navigating through domestic turmoil and international uncertainty. After two terms, Washington retired from political life. To date, he is the only Independent president.

Unfortunately for Washington, he was only able to enjoy two years of retirement before passing away in 1799. In 1879, an Act of Congress established a Federal holiday to honor Washington on February 22. In 1971, the date of the holiday observance was fixed to the third Monday in February. Though still officially on the books as "Washington's Birthday," the term "Presidents Day" has become commonplace, favored by advertisers...

We'd really love to see what you can do with this week's dataset! Download the data and see what you can visualize. Create your viz and post your work to Tableau Public and Twitter with the hashtag #ThrowbackDataThursday, tagging @TThrowbackThurs. We're really looking forward to seeing what the Tableau Community can come up with!

Data Source

This week's dataset comes from Wikipedia. Please be sure to cite the source on your viz.