Revolutionary War Historical Article
Father of Our Country Says It All
By Donald N. Moran
Editor's Note: This article was reprinted from the February 2006 Edition of the Liberty Tree Newsletter
The recent rioting in France has caused me to think about the differences between the United States and other countries in the world - - in particular, those that are supposed to be republics. I can speak with some experience regarding the French, as most of my high school education took place in Paris, France. Most of us were taught that the French Revolution was the result of ours - - not entirely true, but certainly ours was a factor. Our Founding Fathers based the establishment of our new country's government on the principals of "the laws of nature and nature's God." They enshrined these ideals in our Constitution, saying it was only limited by God and the people.
The French Revolution was championed by intellectuals who thought they could create Utopia -- and to do this had to eliminate those who opposed the concept - hence the liberal use of the infamous guillotine.
What prevented our rebellion from turning into a vengeful blood bath as did the one in France and numerous other countries that have had revolutions?
Was our concept of "a government of the people, by the people and for the people" enough? Was our form of a republican government sufficient to avoid bloodshed? The answer to both those questions is unequivocally no! Our form of government was successful because of the personal strength of and respect for one man - - General George Washington!
Another leader, one credited with saving the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, unlike Washington betrayed the very people he supposedly saved, when he crowned himself "Emperor". After his defeat, while imprisoned on the Isle of Elba, he wrote: "They wanted me to be another Washington".
As you know George Washington was elected and then reelected to the American presidency unopposed. When he decided not to run for a third term, which most Americans really wanted him to do, his former enemy, King George, Ill, King of England, said: ". . . if Washington went back to his farm after his public career he would be the greatest character of the age."
Most rebellions or civil wars (a rebellion won is a revolution, a rebellion lost is a civil war) are waged on behalf of the people, but generally end with a dictator assuming total control, i.e. Napoleon. With first hand experience of the possibility of another uprising, the new dictator usually became more tyrannical than the overthrown tyrant. George Washington had personal traits that most well known leaders did not have. It doesn't take a genius to understand that there is not a man alive who would prefer Napoleon over Washington. Napoleon, a student of history, certainly knew that Washington was a better man then he was. George III understood it as well. He knew that when Washington voluntarily gave up power, he was demonstrating that he was the true protector of the American Constitution. When you look at the biographies of the major leaders in world history, such as Caesar, Cromwell, Lenin, Hitler, and Hussein to name a few, you soon discover that they rose to power claiming it was for the benefit of the people - - then when in power, they betrayed that trust.
One of the reasons Washington was different in his thinking is that he had no formal education, or as he put it "a defective education". He was self-educated and spent an average of three hours a day in his library reading the writings of the great minds. One just has to review the list of his books preserved at Mount Vernon to appreciate his reading material. Washington biographer Richard Brookhiser wrote of him: "He was not an intellectual, but a man of action who absorbed the best ideas of his day and made them real. "