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28 December 2015


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Color Sergeant Amos Hall, 7th Connecticut Line 1775-1782, present through the awful winter at Valley Forge, my 3rd great grandfather. pl


While I endorse your paean to GW, I must protest (as a one-time DC resident) your characterization of its residents. Let's bear in mind that the worst reps of the Borg live in the suburbs, including those extending across our Nation and feeding Foggy Bottom. I would also hazard that they are in a numerical minority (though unfortunately influential beyond proportion) among the peoples of our Capitol. I suspect that our Empire would in the course of time do in any District of Columbia - be it in Missouri, Montana or anywhere else.

The Twisted Genius


I'm firmly convinced men were made of sterner stuff back then. Additionally, their sense of honor and duty were firmly internalized. They could not keep themselves from doing the right thing, no matter what cost to themselves. This is stuff that produces lines like, "“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”


Thanks Colonel-
I would commend to SST readers the book "Braddock's March" by Thomas Crocker. It details the campaign of Major General Braddock to Ft. Duquesne and the attendant fiasco. It also describes the truly miraculous survival of Colonel George Washington during the battle at Braddock's Field and the following retreat. The Native Americans involved in the battle ascribed his survival to divine intervention and this reputation followed him to the Revolution. It was amazing that he survived-two horses were shot out under him and his clothing was pierce by bullets four times. Yet, he was not hit.

William R. Cumming

IMO Washington trending downward in Washington policy circles because he is viewed as surrendering power. Washington, D.C. operates now under the aphorism that POWER IS TAKEN NOT GIVEN.

We are winding up 7 full years of the Obama Administration and wondering of existence of fair and balanced written assessments?

Kyle Pearson

I am as much of a native son as any man can claim, on today's North American continent.

I have spent my life among foreign peoples, and i have never claimed to become one of them - nor have i ever failed to say I am an American.

Washington is a symbol - like Aaron Burr, like Sam Houston, like Sitting Bull, like John Brown, like Nate Turner, like Quanah Parker, like Billy the Kid, like John Henry, like Pancho Villa -

Shall we add Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Bush Jr, and Dick Cheney to that list?

Washington, the historical figure, needs to be separated from what Washington, that man people hoped he was.

That's an important part of history.


We lived in New Hope, PA and visited the King of Prussia area often. At first, I found Valley Forge to be a somber place, my emotional reaction to the mental pictures of the depredations of starvation, disease and lack of morale. But then I could focus on the endurance of the common soldier, the dignity and stamina of Washington's personality and the ultimate triumph over the gauntlet thrown down at the Continentals.

I've always considered myself fortunate to have lived within easy driving distance of both Valley Forge and Gettysburg. At times they are overwhelming in their sacred nature. But I always found myself refreshed in admiration after the visits.


ked, I had the same inner response. I suppose you meant this:

"That city in our time thrives despite the arrogance, veniality, and deceitfulness of its residents."

Strictly I think the larger context does not really support our response.

Would this re-phrasing satisfy you:

the powermongers* among its citizen and the gadflies around them?



TGG: We also benefitted from timing. As a counterfactual imagine if the Revolution had occurred post-Enlightenment, say, in the 1830's? We might not have been able to form a single union that late.


WRC: Every one of President Washington's acts set a precedent. His retirement most of all.

To have 225 years of continuous constitutional government is already a supreme achievement--and probably would have been a pleasant surprise for the worldly wise Ben Franklin.


of possible interest:
George Washington's Rules of Civility
110 Maxims Helped Shape and Guide America's First President



on reification


Point well taken on his retirement. If
only the Clintons would follow this along
with the majority of DC pols and their
think tank and journo enablers. Of course
once you belly up to the trough it's hard
to back away.

The Twisted Genius


I have read through these rules before, but the final rule just hit me with its simple magnificence.

"Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Ce[les]tial fire Called Conscience."


Kyle: Thanks for the comment, but in Washington's case you really can't separate the man from the historical figure. Take away Jefferson, you lose the poetry. Take away Hamilton, you lose the steely-eyed realism. Take away Washington, and, frankly, you lose America.

Mary Halock

Consider Washington's speech to his officers in Newburgh, NY. They were ready to march on Congress for their back pay and set a precedent for our military in the future. Here was a man who knew how to make people behave and consider their actions. As he read his speech to them, he took his glasses from his pocket and said, "Excuse me gentlemen, but I've not only grown old but blind in the service of my country." Needless to say, that was the end of the Newburgh rebellion. Not a dry eye in the house. I've walked the grounds of the New Windsor Cantonment and been to Washington's Headquarters in Newburgh. It is also the home of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor. A lot of history here in the Hudson Valley and a reminder of the finest American ever, IMO, George Washington. We sure could use a GW today.

Medicine Man


Washington's humility is the thing I respect most about him. It is a rare man who has that kind of ability and persistence, but apparently not grand ambitions to match.


Another point about George Washington. In his will, he set his slaves free upon his death. Not so our third president, Thomas Jefferson.


Tidewater to Matthew,

I had some trouble with that "reification" bit, but with a little wiki work, I got it, but anyway that's not my focus at the moment. I was having some trouble trying to remember what they called that little,ancient, classical rhetorical device that 'Light Horse' Harry Lee used in, you know, the SPEECH.

The EULOGY that made him immortal, and the phrase that I cannot get out of my brain when "Washington" is mentioned.

After a while I found the term. Trying to figure it out , I guess that in the Greek, "Ana" must mean "back" and "phora" must have to do with carrying. I think of "amphora" but that turns out to be a Latinate form of the Greek. Nonetheless, "amb" must mean 'both' and refers to the twin handles of the water jug, which would be carried with both hands. The water jug would be the same on both sides?

ANAaphora, then, a "bringing back."

"The deliberate repetition of the the first part of the sentence in order to achieve an artistic effect is known as ANAPHORA."

So that would be like "We shall not flag" "We shall go on.".."We shall fight.../"

Or: "This blessed plot", "this ...earth", "this orb", etc.

Or: "It was the best of times, it was the worst..."

Still this stuff is not easy to do. I was pondering how to go about making one of these of my own, when I ran across your further comment: "Take away Jefferson...take away Hamilton... take away Washington... "you lose America!"

Hey, thats ANAPHORA!

Very nice, very informative, almost aphoristic. Thank you. Anaphora is cool.

Gatun Lake

I found a new appreciation for our First American after reading George Wiensek's An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America.
Not only does it show the path of the country from the 1730's to 1800, but in that journey one reads the arc of Washington's life/character with regard to slavery. What makes profound human sense is that a combat veteran (Washington) having seen blacks share his trials in war and is changed by their sacrifice. Hence, his will...It just says so much about how rare he was.






Interesting writeup on Valley Forge. I lived for a few years just a few miles down the road from there, and I simply loved the beauty, serenity and history of that park. More than the monuments and various statues, plaques and what not, the rough cabins dotted throughout the park really say everything about the continental army. And the winnowing process that Valley Forge became as well. A friend and I used to jog through the park and wonder how many long buried men we passed by.

There was a plan to construct a convention center in the park, with the assorted hotel and other business interests pushing for it, but I felt that would be an utter abomination. I don't know where that plan is, but as of earlier this year I did not see anything. I sincerely hope the park stays as is.


Tidewater to Tidewater,

I forgot to mention that if Valley Forge is the Bethlehem of the United States, maybe you could say that the determined resistance made at (and IN the windows of) the Stone Farmhouse on Signal Hill, outside of Valley Forge, by fourteen or so of "Light Horse" Harry Lee's Northern Neckers (part of the First Virginia Light Dragoons), against a 200 man assassination team of 'Bloody' Tarleton's killer pros, is the Continental Army's OK Corral. :)

It gave the Buff and Blues a tremendous lift. Washington's letters and promotions afterwards attest to that. The Partisan Legion was now to be born.

The thing about it that I seem to remember is that Tarleton's approach worked perfectly. They had spent the night in a barn within a short distance, came up in the dark on a cold January dawn. But at four in the morning Lee's men were up, some preparing breakfast, some feeding the horses. Even then they were surprised. They had just enough time to barricade the Stone House before the deadly little engagement began. It was fought with sabre and pistol and not all the windows could be defended.

After this the American army realized that the kid from the Northern Neck was a young Diomedes. He would meet Tarleton and his killer pros again in the Southern Department. He wrote a very readable book about this years later, much of it on a little campaign desk in the Montross jail.

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