George Washington Is Focus of Revisionist Perspectives

Even "the father of our country," George Washington, is not immune from criticism, outrage at his moral blindness, calls to remove statues or to rename universities in his honor. Professors and students at Washington and Lee University are discussing whether the school should change its name. Charles Blow, a NYT columnist, wrote that "on the … Continue reading George Washington Is Focus of Revisionist Perspectives

New Assessments of George Washington Reject the Plaster Saint

Probably what has deterred me from more curiosity about George Washington is that he has so often been portrayed as a plaster saint rather than a real live human with feet of clay. One cannot really appreciate his greatness without first recognizing his perceived faults. His flaws bring him down to earth, to real life. … Continue reading New Assessments of George Washington Reject the Plaster Saint

The Very First Inauguration, of George Washington, in 1789

CBS News: "Mo Rocca reports on the very first presidential inauguration ceremony held for George Washington, and how it set precedents that last to this day." It was held at Federal Hall in New York, using a Bible supplied by the Masons instead of by a specific denomination. Otherwise, a denomination such as the Anglicans … Continue reading The Very First Inauguration, of George Washington, in 1789

Inventing the Myth of George Washington

A popular myth is that George Washington repeatedly turned down an offer to become king of America. In reality this did not happen. Inventing George Washington: America's Founder, in Myth and Memory, by Edward Lengel, punctures myths about Washington and highlights some of the burdens that national leaders, particularly presidents, carry. It's somehow reassuring that even … Continue reading Inventing the Myth of George Washington

George Washington Relentlessly Pursued Runaway Slave

A student of history can't really have a full picture of George Washington without examining his relentless pursuit of a runaway slave. Even though he was living in Pennsylvania, which required slaves to be freed if residing in the state six months, Washington avoided obeying the law by sending his slaves back to Virginia every … Continue reading George Washington Relentlessly Pursued Runaway Slave

US Founders Included John Jay, Reluctant Revolutionary. What Every High School Student Should Know

 I was a little surprised that Time included John Jay among its marquee founding fathers. We all expect to see Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison among the key founders. But Jay was not a president nor was he the towering figures that the others were. Every high … Continue reading US Founders Included John Jay, Reluctant Revolutionary. What Every High School Student Should Know

Divided Loyalties in Colonial America Led to Spying, Betrayals, Leavings

It's easy to think of the American Revolutionary struggle as rebel heroes verses loyalist villains, entitled British soldiers who expect to be quartered in the homes of colonists, oblivious to the burdens they place on these colonists; mad King George III and saintly George Washington, brilliant founding fathers and narrow-minded, out of touch British politicians. … Continue reading Divided Loyalties in Colonial America Led to Spying, Betrayals, Leavings

‘Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon’

For most of American history, one dimension of founding father George Washington's life has not been fully explored: he owned slaves, mostly inherited from his father and father-in-law. Without them taking care of his huge property, he could not have been active in public affairs, nor had time to read and study history and philosophy. … Continue reading ‘Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon’