Friday, February 22, 2013

George Washington 1732-1799

George Washington was born on this day in 1732.  He is still the greatest of all Americans and the one person most responsible for the successful launching of the republic and constitution.  The point is that the US would have been a very different country if we had a leader without Washington's integrity and fine character.

This is a bit about his life:

"Washington rose to eminence on his own merit. His first job at age 17 was as a surveyor in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1752, he joined the British army and served as a lieutenant in the French and Indian War. When the war ended, Washington left the army and returned home to Virginia to manage Mount Vernon, the plantation he had recently inherited upon the death of his older brother. He married a wealthy widow, Martha Dandridge Custis, in 1759. Although the couple had no children, Washington adopted Martha's son and daughter from her previous marriage. While in Virginia, Washington served in the colonial House of Burgesses and, like many of his compatriots, grew increasingly frustrated with the British government. He soon joined his co-revolutionaries in the Continental Congress.
In 1775, the Continental Congress unanimously chose Washington to command the new Continental Army. In addition to advocating civilian control over the military, Washington possessed that intangible quality of a born leader and had earned a reputation for coolness under fire and as a strict disciplinarian during the French and Indian campaign. In that war, he dodged bullets, had horses shot out from under him and was even taken prisoner by the French. Part of his success in the Revolutionary War was due to his shrewd use of what was then considered the ungentlemanly, but effective, tactic of guerrilla warfare, in which stealthy hit-and-run attacks foiled British armies used to close-formation battle-line warfare. Although Washington led almost as many losing battles as he won, his successes at Trenton, Princeton and Yorktown proved pivotal for the Continental Army and the emerging nation. In 1789, in part because of the leadership skills he displayed during the war, the Continental Congress elected Washington as the first American president.....In December 14, 1799, Washington died of a severe respiratory ailment. He humbly identified himself in his will as George Washington, of Mount Vernon, a citizen of the United States."

George Washington's greatest moment was when he chose to walk away from the presidency.  We know that he would have been reelected to a 3rd term.  He would have been reelected over and over again if he had chosen to be president.  Instead, he said goodbye and let the other guys run the country.  His decision legitimized the constitution and the preaceful transfer of power.

Again, we were very lucky that George Washington was our first president.  He led by example and every young person should read about him in school.

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