As history continues to be revised in the classrooms of the country one of the greatest stars the country has ever produced George Washington continues to get short shift.
Washington is a paradox a rich man who risks his wealth in revolution, a general who loses far more than he wins, a man universally popular yet not only doesn’t become king but gives up power after elected. The slaveholder who frees his slaves in his will.
These are all incredible things at any time in history. This weeks for February Vacation and Washington’s birthday week, we’ll talk about the reasons why this holiday should still be called “Washington’s birthday (as its legal name remains) instead of president’s day.
First: Washington the Revolutionary
George Washington was one of the richest if not the richest person in the colonies yet he was willing to fight and support a revolution that would add little if anything to his wealth.
Think about it. What did Washington have to gain from a successful revolt? He was already a huge landowner, he already had comfort, power and wealth, reputation, everything a man of his time could want. What is the incentive for him to do anything that might change it?
Consider: If he had sided with England others would have followed and if a British victory had taken place, a likely-hood that the nearly the entire world anticipated at the time, he would have been honored even further, Knighthood, Order of the Bath, a peerage. These were the greatest honors an Englishman could get at the time, one of the few things Washington lacked.
Yet he put principle ahead of this, and fought against England. Think of the risk involved. If England wins, Washington would not only face a “short drop and a sudden stop”. Even if he was somehow allowed to live, his property would certainly be seized and distributed to loyalists, and his name would have lived infamy. A 18th century Guy Fawkes.
Washington in terms of wealth had more to lose than almost anyone in the nation, and he still fought, risking life, wealth and reputation for the dream of an independent America.
Who can you think of in modern America who would do the same?
When George Washington is called the Father of his Country, you had better believe he earned it.
(Tomorrow, Washington the General)