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George Washington by John Morley


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George Washington by John Morley

  1. 1. George Washington“The Greatest Man in the World” John Morley Spring 2012
  2. 2. Timeline 1732 – Born in Virginia 1752 – Joined Virginia’s militia 1754 – Became local war hero due to letters home 1758 – “Retirement” from militia 1759 – Marriage to widow Martha, becomes stepfather to her two children 1775 – Named Commander-in-Chief of newly formed Continental Army 1781 – Accepted surrender of the British at Yorktown 1783 – Retired his commission, returned to Mount Vernon 1787 – Participated in Constitutional Convention 1789 – Unanimously elected 1st President of United States 1793 – Unanimously elected to second term 1797 – Final retirement from public service 1799 – Died at the age of 67
  3. 3. Alignment of Domains Family – Martha was with him as much as possible, including at winter quarters every year of the war Community – Washington viewed himself as public property, and remarked in retirement that he and Martha hadn’t had a private dinner in 20 years Work – He viewed his work in war and peace as vital to the happiness of his family, community, and nation Self – He stayed true to his values and principles despite tremendous temptation
  4. 4. The Man Who Would Not BeKing Throughout the war and after, the Continental Army (justifiably) felt mistreated by Congress ◦ Issues of compensation, food, equipment, etc. Many within the army and elsewhere wanted Washington to set himself up as King, and everyone knew it would be easy ◦ An adoring public and 26,000 loyal troops angry at Congress Washington had always said he would simply return to Mount Vernon once the war was over ◦ Upon hearing that, King George III famously said that if Washington actually did so, he would be “the greatest man in the world”
  5. 5. The Man Who Would Not BeKing Washington responded to the proposed coup with the following speech: “...And let me conjure you, in the name of our Common Country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the Military and National Character of America, to express Your utmost horror and detestation of the Man who wishes, under any specious pretences, to overturn the liberties of our Country, and who wickedly attempts to open the flood Gates of Civil discord, and deluge our rising Empire in Blood.”
  6. 6. The Man Who Would Not BeKing Resisted calls to put his name forth for presidency, but ultimately acquiesced and was unanimously elected ◦ As the first, Washington was hyperaware of the dangers of setting precedent, and eschewed the appearance of monarchy Fought harder against serving a second term, but gave in and was unanimously elected again Flatly refused to allow his name to be put forth for a third term and retired ◦ Set 2-term precedent that lasted 150 years until FDR
  7. 7. Lessons Family can be integrated into unusual domains Precedent can have more impact than we can foresee For strong leaders, the ability and willingness to cede control for the good of others will set you apart