Greatness of George Washington
Gordon S. Wood
This piece explored avenues related to personal preference and morality; it questioned what a good president meant in the 18th century. I also think this essay is a lot about his character and what made him different than other political powerheads. In the beginning he starts off by stating that even with the great president Washington was, he was voted third in favorite overall president; beaten out by Lincoln and FDR. Washington was known to be a great man focused on his behavior and prided himself on his conscious need to be a gentleman. “He lived his life by the book of gentility” not that of the military. This may be what people’s complaint of Washington was “he was a man of reason who resisted the passions most likely to afflict great men, that is, ambition and avarice.” In this story Gordon talked about when Washington gave up his sword in 1783 to congress to retired to Mount Vernon. Completely separating him from any legislation and politics. “This was a highly symbolic act.” With Washington’s reputation with being just a “great” noblemen and his past history with leading troops in success of the American Revolution he was unanimously electing into office in 1789. “As president he continued to try and play the role he thought circumstances demanded” Washington was extremely focused on his reputation. This diligent behavior benefited in his influence that founded presidency as we know it.
Washington was a child of the enlightenment which meant that he believed that he could create himself. He was not from money or power or knowledge. Nor did he think any of those things created a great man. He remained “profoundly respectful of formal education” and was genially “enlightened by religion.” Washington idealized and emulated a man named Cincinnatus. Cincinnatus was an early Roman hero who immediately resigned from military leadership as soon as the crisis was over to retire to...
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