29 October 2010
A Successful Man
George Washington, a man of few yet insightful words, stepped into his presidency and defined the precedents for future presidents. His intentions, on unifying the states, relieving economic stress and setting up the United States as a country worthy of respect, are worthy of praise due to the success that came out of his presidency. The way he handled each aspect of his presidency set the precedent for the future. George Washington had a very intimidating but charismatic personality, that caused people to fear and respect him. This trait, whether acquired or just naturally a part of him, helped him lead with out question.
George Washington knew from the start that the new nation needed a strong central government to exist. During the Revolution he petitioned Congress to lengthen the term of enlistment, so that they could actually fight the war. Congress denied him, because they did not have a unifying central government. Instead of raising taxes to fund the war, Congress asked people to donate money to the cause. Donations rarely came due to the many rumors of and end to the war. This in turn greatly affected the prosperity of the army. Although George Washington believed that Congress was showing great weakness, he went along with their decisions so as not to undermine their authority. This, and the lack of capability in the Articles of Confederation, lead him to the conclusion that if the nation were to survive they would need a strong central government.
Although George Washington is not formerly recognized as a Federalist, his views are quite similar to those of the party. George Washington wished to relieve the United States of its debt to its people and foreign countries. He believed that unified under a strong central government their debt could be overcome. His Secretary of State, Alexander Hamilton proposed a National Bank that would control the countries currency and pay off its debt as a whole nation. The Jeffersonians believed this to be unconstitutional seeing as some of the southern states had already paid off their debt, but Washington liked the idea. The idea passed Congress and became law. George Washington was a Federalist by his actions, but did not take part in the party.
George Washington wanted to show the world, that the United States was a rising power, in a world ruled by super nations. Jay's Treaty, more correctly called Hamilton's Treaty, and Pinckney's Treaty are perfect examples of how the United States tried to set up foreign policy. In Jay's Treaty, George Washington sent Justice John Jay to England to negotiate neutrality, get the navy to stop seizing American ships and getting the Red Coats to abandon their forts in the Northwest Territory. This treaty had the potential to be successful, but Hamilton sent word ahead that the Americans would be willing to compromise. Upon arriving, Jay was greeted with firm yet polite resistance. The British allowed for small ships to trade in the Caribbean and they agreed to remove their troops from the Northwest Territory. This treaty was very unpopular, especially among republicans, and only passed because the Upper House of Representatives was controlled be Federalists. Pinckney's treaty was equally unappealing. It was proposed to the United States out of Spain's fear of an alliance between the United States and England. The Spanish agreed to stop provoking the Indians and to open up the mouth of the Mississippi River free of charge in exchange for setting territorial parameters along the 31st parallel. This was unpopular, because it was a treaty that was most likely going to happen anyways without a treaty.
George Washington's understanding of power also made him a very successful president. He understood what it took to control a government and the vast amounts of citizens within the country. He exemplified his great power during the Battle of Fallen Timbers and the Whiskey Rebellion. After countless attacks on American citizens and soldiers by the Indians in the Northwest Territory, George Washington sent a capable general, General Wayne, to quell the Indians. General Wayne crushed Indian forces and compelled them into the Treaty of Greenville, which gave the United States government the territory of Ohio. The Whiskey Rebellion was uprising in protest of the unfair tax on liquor. The tax greatly affect the livelihood of many farmers in Pennsylvania. When the farmers took up arms and the Governor refused to do anything about them, George Washington sent an army of 1,500 soldiers to stop it. Upon arriving the farmers dispersed without a trace. These two actions showed just how well George Washington knew power and its uses. George Washington had a very successful presidency. He set the basis by which all following presidents adhere to. His understanding of power brought the United States into the world.