Tag Archives: George Washington

Withering Glare

Delegates at the Constitutional Convention privately questioned whether George Washington’s attendance would make a difference… his comrades from the Revolutionary War knew it would; that his renowned resolve would provide legitimacy to their undertaking in Philadelphia.  Some doubted Washington’s imposing presence could really move men.

Wanna bet?

Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s adjutant during much of the War… challenged a Pennsylvania delegate, the jovial Gouverneur Morris, to greet the General by grasping him by the shoulder.  The bet was a feast for 12.  Morris boasted to Hamilton that no man could intimidate him, even Washington.

 

At a formal dinner a few nights later… Morris approached Washington and greeted him with a firm grasp of the General’s shoulder,

Withered away

“My Dear General, I am very happy to see you look so well.”

Washington removed Morris’s hand and took a step back… fixing on Morris what was described as an “angry frown” and “steely glance”  that “withered” Morris and forced his retreat.  He later confessed to Hamilton,

“I have won the bet but paid dearly for it, and nothing could induce me to repeat it.”

 

 

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On Free Speech

The current administration continues to assail the press and critics utilizing their free speech rights… The President’s minions disingenuously claim that he is merely “fighting back.

Only those who approve

Trump does not believe in civil discourse…. If he does not agree with something, or it challenges his actions, he feels it is illegitimate and should not exist.  This is tyranny.

Remember

George Washington warned his fellow citizens about the dangers of losing free speech…

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

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Making the Most of a Bad Situation

“Speaking generally, no penance is like having one’s picture done. You must sit in a constrained and unnatural position, which is a trial to the temper. But I should like to sit to Stuart from the first of January to the last of December, for he lets me do just what I please, and keeps me constantly amused by his conversation.”  John Adams on sitting for Gilbert Stuart’s portrait sessions. 

Only for the conversation

Only for the conversation

 

Gilbert Stuart always claimed his depiction of Washington most authentic… speaking about the famous Lansdowne Portrait- famously rescued by Dolley Madison(or her servants) in 1814.   Stuart cited his authenticity-

“When I painted him [Washington], he had just had a set of false teeth inserted, which accounts for the constrained expression so noticeable about the mouth and lower part of the face…”   Gilbert Stuart

Rejecting a third term

Rejecting a third term

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Lincoln is Next

Progressive iconoclasts will not stop with Confederate monuments and statues… They have already started the campaign against George Washington.  It appears that no historical figure is safe in today’s climate of over-sensitivity, moral outrage, and political correctness.  In this world, historical figures must be judged with our 21st century sensibilities- we know better than our ancestors- backwards, slave owning, racists they were.  The Great Emancipator is next…

 

University of Wisconsin-Madison students want the statue of Lincoln removed from campus… for alleged crimes against humanity- ordering the execution of 38 Dakota warriors who murdered women and children in Minnesota, which violated a binding treaty between the two nations and was a horrific crime.  The complex conflict that resulted in the executions occurred in the middle of the Civil War.

Can we still call upon our better angels?

The iconoclasts will undoubtedly feel moral superiority in attacking Lincoln’s legacy… their misguided and naive reading of the historical record will lack all academic rigor- but they will get on the news and be able to label their opponents “RACISTS”

  • Lincoln wanted all slaves out of the country!  —  Lincoln briefly favored voluntary colonization, but not after the Emancipation Proclamation took effect   Lincoln explained, ” Why should they do any thing for us, if we will do nothing for them? If they stake their lives for us, they must be prompted by the strongest motive–even the promise of freedom. And the promise being made, must be kept.”
  • Lincoln never wanted to free the slaves! —  Foolish attempts to sully Lincoln’s achievements have always cited the Greeley letter of August 1862   but they fail to finish the darn thing, where Lincoln says, “I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.”
  • Frederick Douglass knew Lincoln was overrated! —  Lincoln is often compared to Douglass and unfairly judged for not being a true abolitionist.  Trouble with this reasoning is that Lincoln was not elected chief abolitionist, he was elected President.  Frederick Douglass’s actual thoughts on Lincoln- “Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.”

Infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln.”      

The hour and the man of our redemption had met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.”

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Fake News and Propaganda

Only those who approve

President Trump continues to attack unflattering coverage of his floundering administration… as fake news.  His response was to launch the blatantly biased Facebook propaganda channel called Trump News AgencyGone is the Fox News pretense of objectivity- this is the President feeding heavily edited stories to willing minions.  The days of Walter Cronkite and the Huntley-Brinkley report are ancient history.

Thomas Jefferson cautioned George Washington about the importance of a free press…. his words should serve as warning to citizens today…

 

“No government ought to be without censors, and where the press is free, no one ever will. If virtuous, it need not fear the fair operation of attack and defense. Nature has given to man no other means of sifting out the truth whether in religion, law or politics. I think it as honorable to the government neither to know nor notice its sycophants or censors, as it would be undignified and criminal to pamper the former and persecute the latter.”

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Confederate Monument Dilemma

PracticallyHistorical offers the following analysis….

  • The Confederate flag should never be flown over government buildings or property
  • The Confederate flag should not be banned
  • Monuments to Confederate leaders, political or military, should not be kept on government or public property
  • Monuments dedicated to unnamed soldiers who fought for the Confederacy should be allowed on public property
  • Communities have every right to determine which people are publicly memorialized
  • The destruction seen in Durham is unacceptable
  • The actions of the KKK and ne0-Nazi groups in Charlottesville are unacceptable
  • Confederate monuments in cemeteries should be left alone
  • Confederate monuments on battlefields should be left alone 
  • Comparing Confederate leaders to our Founders is unacceptable
  • Destroying or defacing monuments to our Founders is unacceptable 
  • Studying Confederate history is necessary
  • Confederate Civil War reenactors should not be ostracized
  • Slavery caused the Civil War
  • Not all Confederate soldiers fought for slavery
  • Not all Union soldiers fought to free slaves 
  • We need to keep reading, writing, and learning…..

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False Equivalence From Our President

The Marble Model

Trump continues to show an astounding ignorance of American history… with his insinuation that the removal of Lee’s statue in Charlottesville will lead to the removal of monuments to Jefferson and Washington.

 

Renown Jefferson critic Annette Gordon-Reed summarized the possibility: 

 

“I understand why some people think his statues should be removed, but not all controversial figures of the past are created equal, I think Jefferson’s contributions to the history of the United States outweigh the problems people have with aspects of his life. He is just too much a part of the American story … to pretend that he was not there.  There is every difference in the world between being one of the founders of the United States and being a part of group of people who fought to destroy the United States.”

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