George Washington was born a man just like you and I. Don’t believe me? He proposed to the same woman twice and was turned down both times. I bet you didn’t expect that from one of our Founding Fathers and 1st President. That’s probably more disappointment than the average dude endures. But the man he became to be and what he accomplished in his life time is what separates him from the masses. This is who we look to and what offers us encouragement! Since his death in 1799, scholars and historians have agreed that George Washington possessed the one trait necessary for our nation to achieve her independence: Greatness. He wasn’t born “Great” though; starting as a young man and through out his life he developed and sharpened this trait. George Washington alongside Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson is one of four men sculpted into Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota.
He was not a highly educated or sophisticated man. He preferred books about farming and animal husbandry to those about art and philosophy. He believed in God and that all men are equal under God. He never traveled to Europe and spoke no other language but his own. He had such a humble opinion of himself that when appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, he said, “I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.” George Washington was our First President, One of the Founding Fathers and he was a Fearless Man.
George Washington was not a genius at military strategy, but when faced in battle, the sheer force of his personality often won the day. Like the best fearless men, his bravery gave the people hope that their cause would succeed. When the Continental Army came upon British regiments in New Jersey in 1777, Washington shouted, “Parade with me, my brave fellows,” and led the charge into enemy lines. His courage and calm in the face of battle was nothing less than astonishing. Thomas Jefferson wrote of him: “He was incapable of fear, meeting personal dangers with the calmest unconcern.”
George Washington and his Continental Army prevailed against the world’s strongest power in an eight-and-a-half year war. He presided over the establishment of the Constitution and served as the nation’s first president for two terms. He never sought power and as each of the duties that his countrymen thrust upon him came to an end, he sought only to retire to his farm in peace. After researching George Washington’s life, Dr. Tim LaHaye wrote: “Our first President was a godly man of humble character and sterling commitment to God.“ In the face of evil he was fearless. He stood for what was right when others cowered.
Although he had been a congressman for Virginia in the Second Continental Congress, Washington had taken up command of the army while the Declaration of Independence was being written. He was therefore not able to participate in the writing of that great document nor was he there to sign it. The day that the Declaration of Independence was signed, John Hancock sent Washington a printed copy of the document. On July 9, 1776, Washington had the document read to his troops.
“No torture on my watch”, is what he said when he found out some of his men were planning to torture captured German mercenaries that were fighting for Great Britain. With this action, George Washington was trying to demonstrate their moral superiority and his own personal convictions when he could have turned a blind eye. Once a group of Delaware Indian Chiefs approached him to request their children be taught in American schools. He replied, “You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.” It’s no wonder our other Founding Fathers and fellow Americans viewed him with utmost respect and then honored him as our first Commander in Chief.
In 1787, Washington chaired the Constitutional Convention, elected by a unanimous vote. His calm yet forceful presence gave the paper drafted there solemn significance. Although Washington did not participate in any of the debates, it is believed that the provision to establish an executive branch of the government, with a single person at its head, was made with the express assumption that Washington would be the first man to hold that role.
“I walk on untrodden ground,” Washington wrote as he accepted the presidency in 1789. “There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.” In his first term, Washington helped Congress adopt the amendments to the Constitution that would come to be known as the Bill of Rights. Washington’s unshakable personal integrity was the foundation of his fearless determination to ensure that “my fellow-citizens understand the true principles of government and liberty.”
After his death, a memorial made at the behest of the Congress of the United States paid tribute to George Washington, naming him “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”