“Congress Does Not Trust Me. I Cannot Continue Thus.”
These are two of the most important sentences George Washington ever spoke. Almost instantly they destroyed a plot aimed at ruining his reputation and forcing him into humiliated retirement. At least as important, the words marked the big Virginian’s emergence as a political leader with talents more than equal to his military prowess.
The words were spoken in the darkness outside Washington’s small stone headquarters at Valley Forge. Snow carpeted the ground. Nearby, the soldiers of the Continental Army huddled in their huts, their stomachs growling with hunger. The lone listener was thin-lipped Massachusetts congressman Francis Dana. He was head of a five man delegation who had come to Valley Forge “to rap a demi-god over the knuckles.”
This begins an exciting new article by prominent historian Thomas Fleming in the collector’s print edition of Journal of the American Revolution. Fleming eloquently spotlights the moment George Washington became a politician as well as a general, and achieved an army with the stability and endurance to win the protracted war.
To read Fleming’s full article, purchase the collector’s hardcover edition of Journal of the American Revolution, now on sale.
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Before he was a politician, GW was an accomplished actor. He had a great sense of drama and timing. Why else would he show up in uniform when the rebel commander was being selected by Congress, ride a white horse, be able to instill patriotism and honor in men about to quit or be routed, quell a developing mutiny or two, etc. I contend that great presidents have the same aptitude as great actors, able to turn moments into historical events.