The Marble Face

George Washington achieved iconic status during… his lifetime.  His peers held him in such esteem that by the time of his death most Americans were left unaware of the life he led.  Washington quickly faded in the collective memory- he became a statue, figuratively as well as literally.  This dehumanization has caused Washington’s name and reputation to plummet in our national remembrance.  Recent polls of some 600 historians show Washington ranking #3 behind Lincoln and FDR.  Many of the same writers cite unwarranted “hero worship” as the reason for the decline.

Myth or man?

Myth or man?

What troubles many delusional historians… is that Washington was aware of his image as the great patriot-hero.  This was an image he went to great lengths to protect.  This type of self-awareness irks 21st century sensibilities, but was common and accepted in the 18th century.  Washington was not as well read, educated or worldly as his peers, but he always acted appropriately, worked efficiently, and governed wisely.



Washington should still be first… in the hearts and minds of his countrymen.  His great strength was character- the ability to lead men without ruling them.  The example he set has endured through the trials and tribulations of our republic- he is truly, the essential American.



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4 responses to “The Marble Face

  1. Totally applaud your bit regarding being careful to not judge history with modern sensibilities, but for the time in which history is being observed. Washington was a man of his era, where folks adhered to different values.

  2. Pingback: The Bullet Proof President–George Washington | The Road

  3. Ken

    Could not agree with you more. He was without doubt the greatest president and it is truly a shame that we as Americans do not know his story in greater depth. Even judging with modern sensibilities, he was without peer. I do believe that with enough historical backround and insight that it is totally appropriate to judge historical figures from a modern perspective.

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