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When George Washington Became Great

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Myron Magnet

When George Washington Became Great

Those were the times that tried men’s souls.

Winter 2012

 

In the summer of 1755, 23-year-old George Washington galloped back and forth across a blood-soaked battlefield near present-day Pittsburgh, trying heroically but unsuccessfully to rally the panicked British force in which he served to withstand a withering attack by Britain’s French and Indian enemies in a war his own hotheadedness had ignited two years earlier. An Indian chief ordered his braves to shoot down the seemingly fearless six-footer, conspicuous not only for his height and daring but also for being, as Thomas Jefferson later marveled, “the best horseman of his age and the most graceful figure that could ever be seen on horseback.” The Indians fired volley after volley, putting four bullets through his coat and killing two horses out from under him, but he fought on unscathed. Fifteen years later, the same chief told him how vividly he remembered that day, which convinced him that the Great Spirit must have a brilliant future in store for the young officer whom his braves miraculously couldn’t kill no matter how hard they tried.

 

When Washington’s fellow delegates to the Second Continental Congress unanimously elected him commander in chief of the American armies on June 15, 1775, two months after the shots at Lexington and Concord had launched the American Revolution, he had a similar premonition. He wrote to his wife—“my dear Patcy”—to tell her that he was off to war, explaining that he couldn’t “refuse this appointment without exposing my Character to such censures as would have reflected dishonour upon myself, and . . . have lessend me considerably in my own esteem.” But he also felt that, “as it has been a kind of destiny that has thrown me upon this Service, I shall hope that, my undertaking of it, is designd to answer some good purpose. . . . I shall rely therefore, confidently, on that Providence which has heretofore preservd, & been bountiful to me, not doubting but I shall return safe to you in the fall.”

 

He was wrong about the timing—it was eight years before he came home—but right about the destiny. And it was in the next 19 months, mostly in New York and fleeing from it, that he knocked on the door of history and entered the pantheon of great men.Scissors-32x32.png

 

http://www.city-journal.org/index.html

 

This is the first of two essays on Washington’s centrality in American history.

Myron Magnet, City Journal’s editor-at-large and its editor from 1994 through 2006, is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. His next book is The Founders at Home.

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Birthday of a Giant: Where Have you Gone George Washington?

 

February 22, 2013 | Filed under Congress,History | Posted by Warner Todd Huston

 

It is February 22nd, the birthday of our first President, George Washington.

 

I don’t celebrate “President’s Day.” I celebrate the presidents individually, not the whole gaggle of them at once. But I most certainly don’t celebrate George Washington, the father of our country, as just another president. These days, George Washington has been relegated to that “truth telling guy” to be seen on the one dollar bill and on TV commercials at the end of February or that guy lumped in with Lincoln on “President’s Day.” And that is a shame, indeed, for, without George Washington, our presidency and nation might have become a far different place.

 

What made Washington such a giant for our times as well as his? For one thing, he knew how to act in public.Scissors-32x32.pnghttp://wizbangblog.c...rge-washington/

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Myron Magnet

When George Washington Became Great

Those were the times that tried men’s souls.

Winter 2012

 

In the summer of 1755, 23-year-old George Washington galloped back and forth across a blood-soaked battlefield near present-day Pittsburgh, trying heroically but unsuccessfully to rally the panicked British force in which he served to withstand a withering attack by Britain’s French and Indian enemies in a war his own hotheadedness had ignited two years earlier. An Indian chief ordered his braves to shoot down the seemingly fearless six-footer, conspicuous not only for his height and daring but also for being, as Thomas Jefferson later marveled, “the best horseman of his age and the most graceful figure that could ever be seen on horseback.” The Indians fired volley after volley, putting four bullets through his coat and killing two horses out from under him, but he fought on unscathed. Fifteen years later, the same chief told him how vividly he remembered that day, which convinced him that the Great Spirit must have a brilliant future in store for the young officer whom his braves miraculously couldn’t kill no matter how hard they tried.

 

When Washington’s fellow delegates to the Second Continental Congress unanimously elected him commander in chief of the American armies on June 15, 1775, two months after the shots at Lexington and Concord had launched the American Revolution, he had a similar premonition. He wrote to his wife—“my dear Patcy”—to tell her that he was off to war, explaining that he couldn’t “refuse this appointment without exposing my Character to such censures as would have reflected dishonour upon myself, and . . . have lessend me considerably in my own esteem.” But he also felt that, “as it has been a kind of destiny that has thrown me upon this Service, I shall hope that, my undertaking of it, is designd to answer some good purpose. . . . I shall rely therefore, confidently, on that Providence which has heretofore preservd, & been bountiful to me, not doubting but I shall return safe to you in the fall.”

 

He was wrong about the timing—it was eight years before he came home—but right about the destiny. And it was in the next 19 months, mostly in New York and fleeing from it, that he knocked on the door of history and entered the pantheon of great men.Scissors-32x32.png

 

http://www.city-journal.org/index.html

 

This is the first of two essays on Washington’s centrality in American history.

Myron Magnet, City Journal’s editor-at-large and its editor from 1994 through 2006, is a recipient of the National Humanities Medal. His next book is The Founders at Home.

 

Interesting.

 

I wonder when he entered the ranks of the secret society.

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You can't talking about the Skull & Bones Society unless I missed something.

 

200px-Skull_and_bones.jpg

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