Wednesday, July 21, 2010

George Washington

George Washington

(February 22, 1732 [O.S. February 11, 1731]– December 14, 1799) served as the first constitutional President of the United States [as apposed to Presidents of the Continental Congress] from 1789 to 1797, and as the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1783. His role in the revolution and subsequent independence and formation of the United States was significant, and is seen by Americans as the "Father of Our Country".

The French and Indian War 1754-1763
The British fought against the French [most Indians siding with the French] over disputed territory along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

George Washington was Colonel of the VA Militia 
[Period Militias consisting of all able bodied and armed men of age].
On July 9th 1755  marching for Fort Du Quesne [now Pittsburgh] 1400 troops [Washington among them] walked into an ambush from both sides.
Lining up as European veterans would in Europe against opponents, shooting from trees and behind rocks all officers were shot off their horses but Colonel Washington
In a letter to his brother John A. Washinton dated July 18th, 1755 he wrote
"By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability and expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, altho' death was levelling my companions on every side."
[it is annoying to me that I cannot find the letter in full online]

[In his account to his mother dated the same 'providence' is absent]
"...where died many other brave officers. I luckily escaped without a wound, though I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me. Captains Orme and Morris, two of the aids-de-camp, were wounded early in the engagement, which rendered the duty harder upon me, as I was the only person then left to distribute the General's orders, which I was scarcely able to do, as I was not half recovered from a violent illness, that had confined me to my bed and a wagon for above ten days. I am still in a weak and feeble condition, which induces me to halt here two or three days in the hope of recovering a little strength, to enable me to proceed homewards; from whence, I fear, I shall not be able to stir till toward September"

Later [in 1770] a Chief  that had fought in that battle came to see washington when heard he would return to the same woods.
"I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle... I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven and who can never die in battle."
He explained that he had instructed his braves to single out and shoot down the Officers on horseback and that he personally had shot at him 17 different times without effect, believing Washington to be under the care of the great spirit the Chief instructed his braves to cease firing at him.

A Patriot's History of the United States -Excerpt-


The Continental Congress appointed Washington commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces in 1775. (as such he served until 1783)

He never used his command for his own advantage. Washington even rebuked his men when they suggested that he become king or that the army assert its control over the civilian authorities. As Commander in Chief, Washington demonstrated his respect for the rule of law by his consistent deference to the elected Continental Congress.[1.]

In 1776, the British were ousted and left Boston, lost New York City, and crossed the Delaware River in New Jersey, defeating the surprised enemy units later that year. Because of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured the two main British combat armies at Saratoga and Yorktown. Negotiating with Congress, the colonial states, and French allies, he held together a tenuous army and a fragile nation amid the threats of disintegration and failure.


Following the end of the war in 1783, King George III asked what Washington would do next and was told of rumors that he would return to his farm, prompting the King to state, "if he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world." Washington did return to private life and retired to his plantation at Mount Vernon.

Washington presided over the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787 because of general dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation.
Washington (belonging to no political party) was unanimously elected President by the Electoral College (something that has never been repeated in American history) He became President of the United States in 1789 and established many of the customs and usages of the new government's executive department. He sought to create a nation capable of sustaining peace with their neighboring countries. His unilateral Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793 provided a basis for avoiding any involvement in foreign conflicts. He supported plans to build a strong central government by paying off the national debt, implementing an effective tax system, and creating a national bank. Washington avoided war and maintained a decade of peace with Britain upon signing the Jay Treaty in 1795, despite intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never officially joining the Federalist Party, he supported its programs and was its inspirational leader.

After two terms Washington thought it was important that he step aside. He believed that a peaceful transition of power to a newly elected president was necessary before his death. He feared that if he died in office and the vice-president ascended to the presidency, it would appear too much like an heir ascending to the throne after the death of a king.[1.]

Washington's Farewell Address was a primer on republican virtue and a stern warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars. He was awarded the first Congressional Gold Medal with the Thanks of Congress in 1776.

King George III said that Washington’s retirement from the presidency along with his earlier resignation of Commander in Chief, “placed him in a light the most distinguished of any man living,” and that his relinquishing power made him “the greatest character of the age.”

Washington died in 1799. Henry Lee, delivering the funeral oration, declared Washington "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen". Historical scholars consistently rank him as one of the greatest United States Presidents.

In a letter to Dr. Walter Jones in 1814, Thomas Jefferson, America’s third President (1801-1809), wrote this about the first President of the newly independent United States of America:

[H]is was the singular destiny and merit, of leading the armies of his country successfully through an arduous war, for the establishment of its independence; of conducting its councils through the birth of a government, new in its forms and principles, until it had settled down into a quite and orderly train; and of scrupulously obeying the laws through the whole of his career, civil and military, of which the history of the world furnishes no other example.”[1.]



"Government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master. [Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.]" -Attributed to both Washington and John Adams

"It is too probable that no plan we propose will be adopted. Perhaps another dreadful conflict is to be sustained. If, to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disprove, how can we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God."  -As President of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Washington gave this advice to his fellow Delegates

When you speak of God, or His attributes, let it be seriously and with reverence. Honor and obey our natural parents although they be poor." - 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, 1737

"Let your recreations be manful not sinful." - 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, 1737

"Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience." - 110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, 1737

Most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ, my merciful and loving Father; I acknowledge and confess my guilt in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on Thee for pardon and forgiveness of my sins, but so coldly and carelessly that my prayers are become my sin, and they stand in need of pardon. I have sinned against heaven and before Thee in thought, word, and deed. I have contemned Thy majesty and holy laws. I have likewise sinned by omitting what I ought to have done and committing what I ought not. I have rebelled against the light, despising Thy mercies and judgment, and broken my vows and promise. I have neglected the better things. My iniquities are multiplied and my sins are very great. I confess them, O Lord, with shame and sorrow, detestation and loathing and desire to be vile in my own eyes as I have rendered myself vile in Thine. I humbly beseech Thee to be merciful to me in the free pardon of my sins for the sake of Thy dear Son and only Savior Jesus Christ who came to call not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. Thou gavest Thy Son to die for me. Make me to know what is acceptable in Thy sight, and therein to delight, open the eyes of my understanding, and help me thoroughly to examine myself concerning my knowledge, faith, and repentance, increase my faith, and direct me to the true object, Jesus Christ the Way, the Truth, and the Life." - Authentic handwritten manuscript book, April 23, 1752

Attributed: "[Let us] meet on the battlefield of ideas"


George Washington's Sacred Fire by Peter A. Lillback

Real George Washington by Jay A. Parry


A Patriot's History of the United States




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