Happy Birthday President Washington: DeMarco Banter

TODAY:  Let us not forget…We celebrate Presidents Day:  or Washington’s Birthday, a federal holiday honoring George Washington which was originally implemented by an Act of Congress in 1879 for government offices in the District of Columbia and expanded in 1885 to include all federal offices. As the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen, the holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22. On January 1, 1971, the federal holiday was shifted to the third Monday in February by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. This date places it between February 15 and 21, which makes the name “Washington’s Birthday” in some sense a misnomer, since it always falls between Washington’s Old Style birthday, February 11, and New Style February 22.


George Washington has always ranked among the top leaders I have ever studied.  An amazing man of vision and of strategy.  It is all too easy to forget the founding of our country was indeed a near run thing. I highly recommend the David McCullough book 1776 for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of just how close America was to NEVER coming into existence. 1776 is the story of the King’s men, the British commander, William Howe, and his highly disciplined redcoats who looked on their rebel foes with contempt and fought with a “valor too little known.” “Here also is the Revolution as experienced by American Loyalists, Hessian mercenaries, politicians, preachers, traitors, spies, men and women of all kinds caught in the paths of war.” “At the center of the drama, with Washington, are two young American patriots, who, at first, knew no more of war than what they had read in books – Nathanael Greene, a Quaker who was made a general at thirty-three, and Henry Knox, a twenty-five-year-old bookseller who had the preposterous idea of hauling the guns of Fort Ticonderoga overland to Boston in the dead of winter.” “But it is the American commander-in-chief who stands foremost – George Washington, who had never before led an army in battle.”
Majesty King George III went before Parliament to declare America in rebellion and to affirm his resolve to crush it. From there the 1776 story moves to the Siege of Boston and its astonishing outcome, then to New York, where British ships and British troops appear in numbers never imagined and the newly proclaimed Continental Army confronts the enemy for the first time….we know the outcome now, but let us not forget the great leaders that emerged at an incredible time of need in our nation’s pre-history.  There is a huge demand for such leaders today, not only a great military leader and general…but an incredible politician.

Just a quick bio on George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the first President of the United States of America, serving from 1789 to 1797, and dominant military and political leader of the United States from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787. Washington became the first president by unanimous choice, and oversaw the creation of a strong, well-financed national government that maintained neutrality in the wars raging in Europe, suppressed rebellion and won acceptance among Americans of all types. His leadership style established many forms and rituals of government that have been used since, such as using a cabinet system and delivering an inaugural address. Washington is universally regarded as the “Father of his country”.

Washington was born into the provincial gentry of a wealthy, well-connected Colonial Virginia family who owned tobacco plantations and slaves. After both his father and older brother died young, Washington became personally and professionally attached to the powerful William Fairfax, who promoted his career as a surveyor and soldier. Washington quickly became a senior officer in the colonial forces during the first stages of the French and Indian War. Chosen by the Second Continental Congress in 1775 to be commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution, Washington managed to force the British out of Boston in 1776, but was defeated and almost captured later that year when he lost New York City. After crossing the Delaware River in the dead of winter, he defeated the British in two battles, retook New Jersey and restored momentum to the Patriot cause. Because of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured two major British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. Historians laud Washington for his selection and supervision of his generals, encouragement of morale and ability to hold together the army, coordination with the state governors and state militia units, relations with Congress and attention to supplies, logistics, and training. In battle, however, Washington was repeatedly outmaneuvered by British generals with larger armies. After victory had been finalized in 1783, Washington resigned rather than seize power, proving his opposition to dictatorship and his commitment to American republicanism. He retired from the presidency in 1797 and returned to his home, Mount Vernon, and his domestic life where he managed a variety of enterprises. He freed all his slaves by his final 1799 will.

Dissatisfied with the weaknesses of Articles of Confederation, in 1787 Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention that drafted theUnited States ConstitutionElected as the first President of the United States in 1789, he attempted to bring rival factions together to unify the nation. He supported Alexander Hamilton‘s programs to pay off all state and national debt, to implement an effective tax system and to create a national bank (despite opposition from Thomas Jefferson). Washington proclaimed the U.S. neutral in the wars raging in Europe after 1793. He avoided war with Great Britain and guaranteed a decade of peace and profitable trade by securing the Jay Treaty in 1795, despite intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never officially joining the Federalist Party, he supported its programs. Washington’s “Farewell Address” was an influential primer on republican virtue and a warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars.

Washington had a vision of a great and powerful nation that would be built on republican lines using federal power. He sought to use the national government to preserve liberty, improve infrastructure, open the western lands, promote commerce, found a permanent capital, reduce regional tensions and promote a spirit of American nationalism. At his death, Washington was hailed as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen”. The Federalists made him the symbol of their party but for many years, the Jeffersonians continued to distrust his influence and delayed building the Washington Monument. As the leader of the first successful revolution against a colonial empire in world history, Washington became an international icon for liberation and nationalism, especially in France and Latin America. He isconsistently ranked among the top three presidents of the United States, according to polls of both scholars and the general public.


TONIGHT… raise a pint to the GREATEST leader in American history… General and President George Washington–Thank you sir, for your service, your humility, your bravery, your audacity, and your sacrifice.  All the best–and God bless you sir…

One Reply to “Happy Birthday President Washington: DeMarco Banter”

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