Skip to comments.Happy 278th Birthday George Washington, The 1st and Best President the US has ever had.
Posted on 02/22/2010 8:03:19 PM PST by Steelers6
He was the best in my opinion for several reasons.
1. Respected God, the People, and the Constitution.
2. He had no prior President in history to use as a guide to lead a country. All those who followed have had him as an example and he still has beaten them all up to this point.
3. He could have been President for Life or King. Had the ability based on leading the Colonial Army and the Constitutional Conventions to have enormous power. But he didn't want that and walked away after 8 years and set the standard for Presidents to serve 2 terms until FDR broke the unwritten rule.
4. Farewell Address that is great Advice for Presidents and the Country today.
5. Paid off a lot of National Debt in his first 2 terms.
5. Respected God and the Constitution.
When George III heard Washington gave up power he commented he was the greatest man on earth. Napoleon commented at his downfall France wanted him to be a Washington.
I have to go with Ronald Reagan.
I’m sure someone will chime in with Jefferson Davis. LOL!
And we know where he was born unlike a certain fake pResident..
Good point. Except he was president of the CSA, not the USA.
I love George Washington. Every time I go back to NJ I try to take a trip through Morristown, where he was waylaid with the dreaded winter snows, worst in many a year that year. Yea, the devil did not want the birth of the nation, for we were a Christian Nation.
What a noble character. What a beautiful soul. Loved his wife, Martha, she was the lucky one. Not many men or women like him. I wish we’d get another.
And so, I’d like to ask you, what do YOU think of the stories of his seeing an angel?
I can believe it, but, well, they say it was written down well after his death.
Washington established the republic, Lincoln saved it from a domestic tyranny and Reagan delivered it from an external tyranny.
Agreed! “Presidents Day” is only a politically correct excuse for the three day weekend for worthless, man-hating government employees and government-paid contractors: the voters of today and constituents of the two politically correct, anti-family, anti-American political parties.
George Washington’s Birthday: the day for good Americans to remember.
We went from a man who couldn’t lie about chopping down a cherry tree to one who denies he had anything to do with ACORN.
I agree. He invented the job, the title, the practices of the Office. He WAS the greatest President. And the dishonor done to him regarding his birthday [making it a three day weekend, and giving it a generic title], and his place in our history, is disgudting.
From the great George Washington to Hussein Obama... how the mighty have fallen.
I'm a bit of a fan of Grover Cleveland, shamefully underrepresented in the hall of presidents. He was a strict constitutionalist who vetoed every bill that deviated from a literal reading of the Constitution. He was a Democrat who fought with the liberal Republicans. Funny how things have switched.
When I think of both of these men, it makes me sick to think of Obama.
I agree that George Washington was the greatest American in history but going by what they did as President I think Abraham Lincoln narrowly beats him.
BTW, although James K. Polk is almost forgotten nowadays he too I believe was a great President-expanded America to make a two-ocean power.
Haha true very true . . . but Washington -unlike the current usurper in chief- was not required to be a natural born US citizen as he was alive during the ratification of the Constitution. As for greatest President of all time, I’m going with TJ on that.
He led from the from the front.
He put his fortune on the line...dont see gates doing that...
He bucked convention and use blacks portugese and jews in his troops... a real multicultural leader.
He is a great site about Washington:
Happy Birthday Your Excellency.
...and thank you!
By far the best president we’ve ever had, and one of the greatest people in all of human history.
“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government”.
“What a noble character.”
I seem to recall a story (Medved probaably!) that after a battle, a dog was in the American camp. Washington recognized it as the British General’s dog. He returned it personally under a flag of truce. Back when honor (on both sides) meant something.
Washington was never hit with a bullet. Although his cloak would sometimes have holes in it after a battle.
“The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments”
- George Washington
and by the way....what was the name of his horse?
I agree. Thanks for making the point!
Lincoln is at the bottom of my list of presidents. He laid waste to the Constitution as no one ever has! States have a right to secede, and some states joined the Union with that assurance. According to Lincoln, federal power was more important than states' rights.
He assumed powers, such as the suspension of habeas corpus, granted only to the Congress, but since the Congress was in recess, that was OK by him. He had soldiers imprison members of the Maryland legislature. In ex parte Merryman, Lincoln refused the Supreme Court's writ of habeas corpus. Lincoln violated every law that got in his way, and after his death, the Republican Party in the same corrupt vein, rammed through the 14th Amendment in one of the most sickening abrogations of the law.
As many as 700,000 people died in the Civil War who shouldn't have died for a grossly unconstitutional act. Men were involuntarily drafted into service. The blockading of the naval ports, ordering of ships, it goes on and on. Lincoln was the worst tyrant we have had. Even FDR made some attempt to follow the Constitution.
Slavery was a deeply horrible thing, but growing financial and moral pressures would have soon ended it. States could have (and should have) refused to trade with the South.
With my limited knowledge of all of the Presidents, I would have to go with George Washington as my #1 pick...by far.
GRRRRREAT post! Thanks.
Thanks to all contributors.
Great post! Washington’s example is both an inspiration and an aspiration to this day.
He deserves his own holiday again instead of President's day. The only individuals who have a national holiday named after them are Columbus and MLK. A disgrace.
Light-Horse Harry Lee’s Eulogy of George Washington
ORATION ON THE DEATH OF GENERAL WASHINGTON,
PRONOUNCED BEFORE BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS, ON DECEMBER 14, 1799
BY MAJOR-GENERAL HENRY LEE.
IN obedience to your will, I rise, your humble organ, with the hope of executing a part of the system of public mourning which you have been pleased to adopt, commemorative of the death of the most illustrious and most beloved personage this country has ever produced; and which, while it transmits to posterity your sense of the awful event, faintly represents your knowledge of the consummate excellence you so cordially honor.
Desperate, indeed, is any attempt on earth to meet correspondingly this dispensation of Heaven; for, while with pious resignation we submit to the will of an all-gracious Providence, we can never cease lamenting, in our finite view of Omnipotent Wisdom, the heart-rending privation for which our nation weeps. When the civilized world shakes to its centre; when every moment gives birth to strange and momentous changes; when our peaceful quarter of the globe, exempt as it happily has been from any share in the slaughter of the human race, may yet be compelled to abandon her pacific policy, and to risk the doleful casualties of war; what limit is there to the extent of our loss? None within the reach of my words to express; none which your feelings will not disavow.
The founder of our federate republicour bulwark in war, our guide in peace, is no more! O that this were but questionable! Hope, the comforter of the wretched, would pour into our agonizing hearts its balmy dew. But, alas! there is no hope for us; our Washington is removed forever! Possessing the stoutest frame and purest mind, he had passed nearly to his sixty-eighth year in the enjoyment of high health, when, habituated by his care of us to neglect himself, a slight cold, disregarded, became inconvenient on Friday, oppressive on Saturday, and, defying every medical interposition, before the morning of Sunday put an end to the best of men. An end, did I say?his fame survives! bounded only by the limits of the earth, and by the extent of the human mind. He survives in our hearts, in the growing knowledge of our children, in the affection of the good throughout the world: and when our monuments shall be done away; when nations now existing shall be no more; when even our young and far-spreading empire shall have perished; still will our Washington’s glory unfaded shine, and die not, until love of virtue cease on earth, or earth itself sinks into chaos!
How, my fellow-citizens, shall I single to your grateful hearts his pre-eminent worth? Where shall I begin, in opening to your view a character throughout sublime? Shall I speak of his warlike achievements, all springing from obedience to his country’s willall directed to his country’s good?
Will you go with me to the banks of the Monongahela, to see your youthful Washington supporting, in the dismal hour of Indian victory, the ill-fated Braddock, and saving, by his judgment and by his valor, the remains of a defeated army, pressed by the conquering savage foe? or when, oppressed America nobly resolving to risk her all in defense of her violated rights, he was elevated by the unanimous voice of Congress to the command of her armies? Will you follow him to the high grounds of Boston, where, to an undisciplined, courageous, and virtuous yeomanry, his presence gave the stability of system, and infused the invincibility of love of country? Or shall I carry you to the painful scenes of Long Island, Work Island, and New Jersey, when, combating superior and gallant armies, aided by powerful fleets, and led by chiefs high in the roll of fame, he stood the bulwark of our safety, undismayed by disaster, unchanged by change of fortune? Or will you view him in the precarious fields of Trenton, where deep gloom, unnerving every arm, reigned triumphant through our thinned, worn down, unaided ranks-himself unmoved? Dreadful was the night. It was about this time of winter. The storm raged. The Delaware, rolling furiously with floating ice, forbade the approach of man. Washington, self-collected, viewed the tremendous scene. His country called. Unappalled by surrounding dangers, he passed to the hostile shore; he fought; he conquered. The morning sun cheered the American world. Our country rose on the event; and her dauntless chief, pursuing his blow, completed in the lawns of Princeton what his vast soul had conceived on the shores of Delaware.
Thence to the strong grounds of Morristown he led his small but gallant band; and through an eventful winter, by the high efforts of his genius, whose matchless force was measurable only by the growth of difficulties, he held in check formidable hostile legions, conducted by a chief experienced in the art of war, and famed for his valor on the ever memorable heights of Abraham, where fell Wolfe, Montcalm, and since, our much lamented Montgomery; all covered with glory. In this fortunate interval, produced by his masterly conduct, our fathers, ourselves, animated by his resistless example, rallied around our country’s standard, and continued to follow her beloved chief through the various and trying scenes to which the destinies of our Union led.
Who is there that has forgotten the vales of Brandywine, the fields of Germantown, or the plains of Monmouth? Everywhere present, wants of every kind obstructing, numerous and valiant armies encountering, himself a host, he assuaged our sufferings, limited our privations, and upheld our tottering republic. Shall I display to you the spread of the fire of his soul, by rehearsing the praises of the hero of Saratoga, and his much loved compeer of the Carolinas? No; our Washington wears not borrowed glory. To Gates, to Greene, he gave without reserve the applause due to their eminent merit; and long may the chiefs of Saratoga and of Eutaws receive the grateful respect of a grateful people.
Moving in his own orbit, he imparted heat and light to his most distant satellites; and combining the physical and moral force of all within his sphere, with irresistible weight he took his course, commiserating folly, disdaining vice, dismaying treason, and invigorating despondency; until the auspicious hour arrived, when, united with the intrepid forces of a potent and magnanimous ally, he brought to submission the since conqueror of India; thus finishing his long career of military glory with a lustre corresponding to his great name, and, in this his last act of war, affixing the seal of fate to our nation’s birth.
To the horrid din of battle sweet peace succeeded; and our virtuous chief, mindful only of the common good, in a moment tempting personal aggrandizement, hushed the discontents of growing sedition; and, surrendering his power into the hands from which he had received it, converted his sword into a ploughshare; teaching an admiring world that to be truly great you must be truly good.
Were I to stop here, the picture would be incomplete, and the task imposed unfinished. Great as was our Washington in war, and as much as did that greatness contribute to produce the American republic, it is not in war alone his pre-eminence stands conspicuous. His various talents, combining all the capacities of a statesman with those of a soldier, fitted him alike to guide the councils and the armies of our nation. Scarcely had he rested from his martial toils, while his invaluable parental advice was still sounding in our ears, when he, who had been our shield and our sword, was called forth to act a less splendid, but more important part.
Possessing a clear and penetrating mind, a strong and sound judgment, calmness and temper for deliberation, with invincible firmness and perseverance in resolutions maturely formed; drawing information from all; acting from himself, with incorruptible integrity and unvarying patriotism; his own superiority and the public confidence alike marked him as the man designed by Heaven to lead in the great political as well as military events which have distinguished the era of his life.
The finger of an over-ruling Providence, pointing at Washington, was neither mistaken or unobserved, when, to realize the vast hopes to which our revolution had given birth, a change of political system became indispensable.
How novel, how grand the spectacle! Independent States stretched over an immense territory, and known only by common difficulty, clinging to their union as the rock of their safety; deciding, by frank comparison of their relative condition, to rear on that rock, under the guidance of reason, a common government, through whose commanding protection, liberty and order, with their long train of blessings, should be safe to themselves, and the sure inheritance of their posterity.
This arduous task devolved on citizens selected by the people, from knowledge of their wisdom and confidence in their virtue. In this august assembly of sages and of patriots, Washington of course was found; and, as if acknowledged to be most wise where all were wise, with one voice he was declared their chief. How well he merited this rare distinction, how faithful were the labors of himself and his compatriots, the work of their hands, and our union, strength, and prosperity, the fruits of that work, best attest.
But to have essentially aided in presenting to his country this consummation of our hopes, neither satisfied the claims of his fellow-citizens on his talents, nor those duties which the possession of those talents imposed. Heaven had not infused into his mind such an uncommon share of its ethereal spirit to remain unemployed, nor bestowed on him his genius unaccompanied with the corresponding duty of devoting it to the common good. To have framed a Constitution was showing only, without realizing, the general happiness. This great work remained to be done; and America, steadfast in her preference, with one voice summoned her beloved Washington, unpracticed as he was in the duties of civil administration, to execute this last act in the completion of the national felicity. Obedient to her call, he assumed the high office with that self-distrust peculiar to his innate modesty, the constant attendant of preëminent virtue. What was the burst of joy through our anxious land on this exhilarating event is known to us all. The aged, the young, the brave, the fair, rivaled each other in demonstrations of their gratitude: and this high-wrought, delightful scene was heightened in its effect by the singular contest between the zeal of the bestowers and the avoidance of the receiver of the honors bestowed.
Commencing his administration, what heart is not charmed with the recollection of the pure and wise principles announced by himself, as the basis of his political life? He best understood the in-dissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and individual felicity. Watching with an equal and comprehensive eye over this great assemblage of communities and interests, he laid the foundations of our national policy in the unerring, immutable principles of morality, based on religion, exemplifying the pre-eminence of a free government by all the attributes which win the affections of its citizens, or command the respect of the world.
0 fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint!
Leading through the complicated difficulties produced by previous obligations and conflicting interests, seconded by succeeding Houses of Congress, enlightened and patriotic, he surmounted all original obstruction, and brightened the path of our national felicity.
The presidential term expiring, his solicitude to exchange exaltation for humility returned with a force increased with increase of age; and he had prepared his farewell address to his countrymen, proclaiming his intention, when the united interposition of all around him, enforced by the eventful prospects of the epoch, produced a further sacrifice of inclination to duty. The election of President followed; and Washington, by the unanimous vote of the nation, was called to resume the chief magistracy. What a wonderful fixture of confidence! Which attracts most our admiration, a people so correct, or a citizen combining an assemblage of talents forbidding rivalry, and stifling even envy itself? Such a nation ought to be happy; such a chief must be forever revered.
War, long menaced by the Indian tribes, now broke out; and the terrible conflict, deluging Europe with blood, began to shed its baneful influence over our happy land. To the first, outstretching his invincible arm, under the orders of the gallant Wayne, the American eagle soared triumphant through distant forests. Peace followed victory; and the melioration of the condition of the enemy followed peace. Godlike virtue! which uplifts even the subdued savage!
To the second he opposed himself. New and delicate was the conjuncture, and great was the stake. Soon did his penetrating mind discern and seize the only course, continuing to us all the felicity enjoyed. He issued his proclamation of neutrality. This index to his whole subsequent conduct was sanctioned by the approbation of both Houses of Congress, and by the approving voice of the people.
To this sublime policy he inviolably adhered, unmoved by foreign intrusion, unshaken by domestic turbulence.
Justum et tenacem propositi virum,
Non civium ardor prava jubentium,
Non vultus instantis tyranni,
Mente quatit solida.
Maintaining his pacific system at the expense of no duty, America, faithful to herself, and unstained in her honor, continued to enjoy the delights of peace, while afflicted Europe mourns in every quarter under the accumulated miseries of an unexampled warmiseries in which our happy country must have shared, had not our preëminent Washington been as firm in council as he was brave in the field.
Pursuing steadfastly his course, he held safe the public happiness, preventing foreign war, and quelling internal discord, till the revolving period of a third election approached, when he executed his interrupted, but inextinguishable desire of returning to the humble walks of private life.
The promulgation of his fixed resolution stopped the anxious wishes of an affectionate people from adding a third unanimous testimonial of their unabated confidence in the man so long enthroned in their hearts. When before was affection like this exhibited on earth? Turn over the records of ancient Greece; review the annals of mighty Rome; examine the volumes of modern Europe; you search in vain. America and her Washington only afford the dignified exemplification.
The illustrious personage called by the national voice in succession to the arduous office of guiding a free people had new difficulties to encounter. The amicable effort of settling our difficulties with France, begun by Washington, and pursued by his successor in virtue as in station, proving abortive, America took measures of selfdefense. No sooner was the public mind roused by a prospect of danger, than every eye was turned to the friend of all, though secluded from public view, and gray in public service. The virtuous veteran, following his plough, received the unexpected summons with mingled emotions of indignation at the unmerited ill treatment of his country, and of a determination once more to risk his all in her defense.
The annunciation of these feelings in his affecting letter to the President, accepting the command of the army, concludes his official conduct.
First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and endearing scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting.
To his equals he was kind: to his inferiors condescending, and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender. Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues.
His last scene comported with the whole tenor of his life; although in extreme pain, not a sigh, not a groan escaped him; and with undisturbed serenity he closed his well-spent life. Such was the man America has lost! Such was the man for whom our nation mourns.
Methinks I see his august image, and hear, falling from his venerable lips, these deep sinking words:
Cease, Sons of America, lamenting our separation. Go on, and confirm by your wisdom the fruits of our joint councils, joint efforts, and common dangers. Reverence religion; diffuse knowledge throughout your land; patronize the arts and sciences; let liberty and order be inseparable companions; control party spirit, the bane of free government; observe good faith to, and cultivate peace with all nations; shut up every avenue to foreign influence; contract rather than extend national connection; rely on yourselves only: be American in thought and deed. Thus will you give immortality to that union, which was the constant object of my terrestrial labors; thus will you preserve undisturbed to the latest posterity the felicity of a people to me most dear; and thus will you supply (if my happiness is now aught to you) the only vacancy in the round of pure bliss high Heaven bestows.
This is a link to his ancestral home in England and well worth taking the armchair tour.
No Way! Ronald gave us Sandra Day O’Conner & gave the USSR tons of cash that never made it! He also compromised himself & this country during the Iran Contra scandel by breaking the Boland amendment. Granted he was a breath of fresh air as to what we have now.
George Washington & gang did not & would not approve of any forms of Taxation that we have today! they did not & would not have approved or even considered an individual Social(ist) (in)Security number or any kind or tax identification numbers, no kinds of welfare or government handouts of anykind all of those we still had under Reagan.
Lincoln the greatest President? LOL! who started the Civil war? tell us how it started?
I agree with your take on Lincoln, FDR? another Socialist, look at all those handouts he gave can you say Barack? tee hee!
The Boland amendment? Forbidding aid to the pro-freedom Contras and giving aid and comfort to the communists?
I believe George Washington to be the greatest President of the past, and the greatest President of all, will be the future President who ends abortion.
I'm sure that Ronaldus Magnus would give you a quizzical look with a steely eye, then vote for Washington.
I recently finished reading "1776" by David McCullough. Much of the book revolves around George Washington's efforts to build the Continental Army, all while fighting our first battles with the British at the same time.
The sheer enormity of the task that our first CIC confronted, and successfully dealt with, is unparalleled in our history. There was little guarantee that he would succeed in that task at the time, and most Americans gave him small odds of doing so, yet he and other patriots did the impossible, and won our people's freedom.
He went on to serve admirably as our first President, and with the sort of dignity and integrity to the office that has rarely been seen since.
It's too easy to call any modern American president, "the greatest of all time". Only a thorough reading of history can bring out the lives and deeds of our former presidents vividly enough for a real comparison to those we remember from our lifetimes.
James K Polk has always been my favorite. Did everything he said he would do and only served one term and didn’t run for re-election.
As a side note to that, when it was proposed by some in Congress that he be addressed as "His Excellency, the President", Washington humbly requested that he simply be referred to as "Mr. President".
Every US president since that time has been addressed in that way.
With that one small act, Washington underscored the concept that the presidency is the office of The People, and that the President is their servant. Not the other way around.
Indeed. Though I can’t resist calling Washington, ‘His Excellency’ ...its befitting of the man.
Impact and Legacy
Among George Washington’s critics are those who wonder how the nation might have developed had he sided with Jefferson in the partisan debates that swirled all around him as President. By identifying himself with Hamilton, he actually furthered the partisanship he so vigorously denounced in his farewell speech to the nation. In the eyes of those historians who doubt his greatness, this is Washington’s most significant failure as President.
He has also been criticized, along with other members of the founding generation, for his ownership of slaves. At one point, he expressed the sincere desire to see “a plan adopted for the abolition” of slavery, but he backed away from initiating such a plan by looking to legislative authority for its conception and execution. While he provided generously for his slaves in his will, he did not free them in his lifetime. Nevertheless, a year before his death he remarked to an acquaintance, “I can foresee that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the existence of our union.”
Creating the Presidency
Except for these caveats, it is the substantial consensus among historians that Washington’s tenure in office set the nation on a path that has endured now for over 200 years, longer than any other republic in history. He established precedents that would last for generations and did more to flesh out the skeleton of the presidential office than anyone could have expected or predicted. As one scholar has said, he “invented tradition as he went along.” His actions, more than those of any other Founding Father, became a part of the “unwritten Constitution.”
Washington’s reliance on department heads for advice, similar to his war council during the Revolution, set a precedent for including the cabinet as part of the President’s office. Moreover, because Congress did not challenge his appointments or his removal of appointees, principally out of respect for him, the tradition was planted to allow the President to choose his or her own cabinet. By his actions and words, Washington also set the standard for two presidential terms, a practice that lasted until 1940. When John Jay resigned as chief justice of the Supreme Court, Washington selected his successor from outside the bench, disregarding seniority and thus allowing future Presidents to draw from a diverse pool of talent beyond the Court’s aging incumbents.
When the House of Representatives sought records related to negotiations surrounding the Jay Treaty of 1795, Washington refused to deliver all the documents. In doing so, he set the precedent for invoking what became known as executive privilege. In leading federal troops against the Whiskey Rebellion, Washington presented a clear show of federal authority, established the principle that federal law is the supreme law of the land, and demonstrated that the federal government is empowered to levy and collect taxes.
Although he sponsored and supported legislative proposals submitted to Congress for enactment, he carefully avoided trying to dictate or unduly influence the judicial and legislative branches of the government. In not vetoing bills with which he disagreed unless there were constitutional questions, he set a precedent of executive restraint that would be followed by the next five Presidents. Moreover, by keeping Vice President Adams at arm’s length — not even inviting him to attend cabinet meetings — Washington set the tradition by which the vice president’s role is largely ceremonial.
Also, although Washington hated partisanship and political parties, he tolerated dissent, vicious attacks on his reputation and name, and a divisive press — all in the interest of freedom. There is little reason to suggest that Washington, unlike so many of his successors, ever sought to use his office for personal empowerment or gain. Neither did he shelter his friends for the sake of their friendships when conflicts of interest arose.
Perhaps most importantly, Washington’s presidential restraint, solemnity, judiciousness, and nonpartisan stance created an image of presidential greatness, or dignity, that dominates the office even today. He was the man who could have been a king but refused a crown and saved a republic.
Yes, in Washington's case it's deserved.
I'm certain that those who proposed to call him "His Excellency", did so out of a profound sense of gratitude for guiding our nation to freedom, and an unbridled awe of the historic figure he truly was.
No matter which was the greater president, between the two, Lincoln was the greater man overall.
I base that on the fact that Lincoln raised himself up from dirt poor to financial success and then to one of our greatest, if not the greatest, president.
Whereas George Washington married money.
And I say that despite being unsure about Lincoln’s political ideas.
Well said. As a military leader Washington knew that as long as the army remained intact the war, and our liberty, could be won.
As a president there have been none since that even come close.