Monday, February 22, 2010

George Washington

The man, the myth, the legend.

by Joseph C. Smith Jr. and Tara Ross - February 22nd, 2010 - The Weekly Standard

He is the most easily recognized member of America’s founding generation. His involvement in founding events was so pervasive that one of his biographers described him as the “central feature in every major event of the revolutionary era.” He was celebrated as a legend, even in his own time.

Yet few really knew him, despite his fame. He was a very private man when it came to personal matters. And his reputation sometimes seems to be built as much on myth as reality.

I wonder if this is as true as some want it to seem. The background of the man is not that hard to sum up.

Though he came from a very wealthy family, he was the third son by a second wife and was raised in a world where older brothers were to inherit the wealth while George got nothing, as was common in that day.

He worked as an apprentice surveyor until he acquired sufficient knowledge to become a member of that technical profession. In that day apprentice was a subservient position and not likely to attract anyone who thought off himself as superior.

Though in the Ohio campaigns he had demonstrated bravery and leadership in battle, he also could not get a commission in the British Army during the conflict of 1740 and had to serve as an aide-de-camp to a general, also not a position that a proud man would accept.

Numerous other positions in life indicated he never had the arrogance of those who presumed they were superior. It is that ability to identify with the common man that made him such a magnificent leader of our forces during the revolutionary war.

He also quietly built up a huge fortune during his life, without creating enemies in the process due to his humility and courtesy.

However as much as he was humble, few doubted his ability and he inspired trust. That dichotomy is rare in men.

This article is one more attempt to answer what may not even be the most important question about George Washington. Why is he misunderstood may not be as important as why can't he be accepted for simply being a rare man of exceptional talent who repeatedly excelled at everything he did?


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