First President of the United States
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  • George Washington

    George Washington (22 February 1732 - 14 December 1799) was an American statesman and soldier who served as the first President of the United States from 1789 to 1797 and was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He served as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and later presided over the 1787 convention that drafted the United States Constitution. He is popularly considered the driving force behind the nation's establishment and came to be known as the "father of the country", both during his lifetime and to this day.

    Reference

    Washington, George (1732-1799), by Jonathan Rowe, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "George Washington was the first president of the United States and the 'father of his country.' Washington fought for the Virginia colony early in the French and Indian War, and he later commanded the Continental Army in America's fight for independence. He presided over the Constitutional Convention and served for two terms as president under the new Constitution of the United States. Washington was fervently committed to the cause of republicanism, which embraced the view that political liberty was an inalienable right. Indeed, he played leading roles in nearly every major event of America's founding."

    Born

    22 Feb 1732, in Popes Creek Plantation, Westmoreland County, Virginia

    Died

    14 Dec 1799, in Mount Vernon, Virginia

    Biography

    Biography of George Washington: George Washington's Mount Vernon
    Educational resource from the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
    Biography of George Washington, by Mark Mastromarino, 1999
    Written for Bicentennial of Washington's death
    Chronology - George Washington: A National Treasure
    Smithsonian Institution, National Portrait Gallery

    Web Sites

    George Washington: A National Treasure
    Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery traveling exhibition of Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington. Site includes detailed Washington chronology.
    George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress: 1741-1799
    American Memory Collections
    George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
    The Mount Vernon Ladies' Association
    The Papers of George Washington
    A project of the University of Virginia

    Articles

    Book Review: A Sacred Union of Citizens—George Washington's Farewell Address and the American Character by M. Spalding & P. Garrity, by George Leef, The Freeman, Nov 1997
    "... Washington extolled the virtues of just minding one's own business. If the character of most if not all of the people were to be formed around that simple maxim, people would turn away from the seduction of politics. ... warned ... against allowing even the slightest weakening of the Constitution's restraints upon governmental power ..."
    Book Review: Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington by Richard Brookhiser, by Clarence B. Carson, The Freeman, Sep 1996
    "This is ... a series of essays on the general subject of George Washington. It focuses upon Washington's career, his character, and his place in the minds and hearts of Americans. ... he was given to asking those about him for their opinions and understanding, such as the need to restrain government lest it trample individual rights."
    Bureaucracy and the Civil Service in the United States, by Murray Rothbard, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1995
    Historical account of the evolution of the United States Civil Service and attempts to reform it, from its beginnings through the early 20th century
    "Carl Prince has shown, however, that, guided by his distinguished theoretician and organizer Alexander Hamilton, Washington deliberately developed a highly partisan, Federalist party-oriented federal civil service. In the first place, all Anti-Federalists were from the beginning deliberately excluded from office."
    Citizen Washington, by Ryan McMaken, 23 Feb 2001
    "Washington is important not as a president, but simply as a man. He was a man who risked his vast fortune and his life to fight for what many saw as a lost cause. ... To be a great man, being president is neither necessary nor sufficient; and when we begin to confuse great men and great presidents we do ourselves a disservice."
    Emergencies: The Breeding Ground of Tyranny, by William L. Anderson, Future of Freedom, Nov 2006
    Examines the long history of "emergency powers" claimed by U.S. Presidents, including recent examples such as sanctions stemming from the International Economic Powers Act and the so-called War on Terror
    "One can argue that George Washington grabbed what could only be called 'emergency powers' when he led an army of federalized troops into Western Pennsylvania in order to enforce collection of taxes on 'spirits.' While no courts ever ruled on his actions, Washington certainly pushed the envelope with respect to the exercise of 'emergency powers.'"
    George Washington - Hero of the Day, by David Ramsay, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
    Happy Counterterrorism Day, by Scott Horton, Harper's Magazine, 5 Nov 2007
    Recounts the history of Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot and proposes three lessons to be learned from it for the present age
    "The original George W. saw things quite differently. For him, America was involved in a struggle for its liberty, and the commemoration of Guy Fawkes stood for the opposite: government by fear, oppression of a minority, a celebration of arbitrary power. Guy Fawkes Day was the abnegation of the essential values of the Revolution. So the original George W. put it in an order: No more Guy Fawkes Day."
    Independence Day Propaganda, by Anthony Gregory, 4 Jul 2011
    Argues that the American Revolution, albeit of a libertarian flavor, had several unsavory shortcomings
    "A year before the Declaration of Independence, General Washington began the process of structuring the military along authoritarian lines, instituting gratuitously unequal pay, dealing death to deserters, and even attempting (but failing) to raise the maximum corporal punishment to 500 lashes. ... George Washington cracked down on the libertarian Whiskey Rebellion, created a national bank, and put Alexander Hamilton, a centralizing statist, in charge of the Treasury."
    No More Great Presidents, by Robert Higgs, The Free Market, Mar 1997
    Discusses the results of a 1996 poll of historians asking them to rank U.S. presidents, focusing on those ranked Great, Near Great and Failure, and offers his own ranking
    "Washington, I think, actually does deserve a high rating--not even the historians can be wrong all the time. He established the precedent of stepping down after two terms, which lasted until it clashed with FDR's insatiable ambition, and he prescribed the sensible foreign policy, later slandered as 'isolationism,' that served the nation well for more than a century."
    The American Heritage of "Isolationism", by Gregory Bresiger, Future of Freedom, May 2006
    "Washington's proclamation, which split his cabinet, was controversial because the United States still had an alliance with France that was entered into during the American Revolution. ... Nevertheless, Washington's goal was to put relations with both empires on an equal footing."
    The Post Office as a Violation of Constitutional Rights, by Wendy McElroy, The Freeman, May 2001
    Prompted by the announcement of the U.S. Postal Service eBillPay service (now discontinued), surveys the history of mail service vis-à-vis civil rights, from colonial days to the present
    "But reliability of delivery would not be the only goal of the new postal service. In 1785, a resolution authorized the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs to open and inspect any mail that related to the safety and interests of the United States. The ensuing 'inspections' caused prominent men, such as George Washington, to complain of mail tampering."

    Writings

    George Washington's Farewell Address, 19 Sep 1796
    The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
    "Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European Ambition, Rivalship, Interest, Humour or Caprice? 'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign World ... I repeat it therefore, Let those engagements. be observed in their genuine sense. But in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them."
    Related Topic: Foreign Entanglements

    The introductory paragraph uses material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.