Now That’s a President

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.”

George Washington was the commander of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War from 1775 to 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. When he ended his service at the end of the war, he resigned his commission in 1783 and retired to private life at his plantation in Mount Vernon, thereby proving King George III wrong. George III had asked what Washington would do after the war 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 presided over the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787. Washington was elected the first president, unanimously by the Electoral College, something that has never been repeated in American history.

Washington belonged to no political party and served as America’s first President from April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797. 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.

Washington’s farewell address was a primer on republican virtue and a stern warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars. When Washington stepped aside at the end of his second term, 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.

[Sources HERE and HERE]

Tears streamed down my face as I wrote this post. We the People are political orphans. Where have all the good presidents gone?

~Eowyn

7 responses to “Now That’s a President

  1. hey that guys picture is on my dollar bill!!! the history channel has run some fantastic revolutionary war facts. without washington the colonies had less than no chance. what he was able to do with basically the rawest recruits the scantist of materials was close to a miracle. he revolutionized warfare and proved without any doubt to be a great leader of men. he is the father of the United States of America..

  2. Gingrich tells a very moving story of Washington in this video. The story starts at the 7:08 mark, but the entire video is worth watching. This would be the Gingrich I would vote for if he ran; but sometimes he’s a different Gingrich, so I’m torn:

  3. I agree with your appraisal of Gingrich. He could have achieved greatness, but he – like others – succumbed to the power of Washington DC. The Contract With America could have been the Federalist Papers of our generation. COULD have been, had professional politicians of the RINO persuasion not screwed that up as well. politicians today are mainly people who have never had a genuine job. They can’t relate to the American people no matter what they say. They don’t GET IT, and never will. They know nothing of sacrifice, because they have never had to. A very large percentage of Congress are millionaires – or soon will be. Has no one ever wondered why someone will spend millions of dollars to get a job that pays only $180,000? Do we seriously believe they are in it because they are “public spirited citizens wanting to serve the public?” I have a bridge to sell you if you do.

    The closing comments about Washington and his men brought tears to my eyes, as did Gingrich’s request to have everyone in attendance thank every service member they come upon. Then visit the “Vets For Freedom” website and find out about the 10 service veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who are running for Congress in November. These are men who know sacrifice – they’ve lived it. These are the kind of men who would have stood beside Washington. These are the kind of men we need in Washington DC to bring our country back from the Marxist regime of Obama, Holder, Sunstein, Koh, Napolitano, etc. We certainly are not going to find their equals among the professional political class.

    • First of all, Curmudgeon, thank you for your service in the NYPD.

      I always thank our soldiers, past or present; and if I have a chance, I will buy them something to eat. I’m very proud of our military, policemen, firefighters, et al.

      I am extremely disappointed in Newt because he could have achieved something wonderful for our country. Hopefully the GOP can come up with a fresh face with conservative values for 2012. We don’t need a repeat of failed candidates.

      Last, I would have followed Washington, wearing burlap on my feet, to save our country. We must all make sacrifices to ensure a free America for our progeny.

      Libertas inaestimabilis res est – Liberty is a thing beyond all price

  4. they had a bit about washington on the history channel yesterday they said that washington never wore a powdered whig (picture above and many other pics depict him with a powdered whig) he wore his reddish brown hair tied in a pony tail..

    • Thanks, igor! Inspired by your comment, I got rid of the old pic and replaced it with this black-and-white one instead. His greying hair looks real, not a wig. Our first President also looks handsomer in this one! :)

  5. Actually, my information is that in those times gentlemen wore the powdered wigs only on formal occasions – not as an everyday thing. So it’s entirely possible that for a formal painting GW would/could indeed have worn a wig. A minor point, but ….

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