It is impossible to reflect on the truly great leadership that has been one of the real blessings of this nation without including the name of George Washington in that list. In fact, in almost anyone’s “top ten” list of truly great presidents,
Washington would almost
certainly top the list. His stature in
American history is legendary and the respect Americans have for this their
first president borders on adoration of myth.
In fact, there is a lot of myth and some humor about our first president that reflects the love people have for this great leader. From the many quips about his supposed wooden teeth to the thousands of places around the nation that proclaim “George Washington slept here”, to the mythical story of how he threw a silver dollar across the Potomac as a child or his response when he was caught cutting down a cheery tree and responded to the accusation “I cannot tell a lie”, Washington’s myth is strong in the national memory of this great leader.
was a great political leader, he showed his tremendous leadership skills on the
field of battle. He learned the art of
warfare serving honorably in the French and Indian war and his influence and
the respect he had earned during that conflict netted him the title of commander
and chief of the American Army when the continental congress created that role
in 1775. Small wonder when he ascended
to the presidency some years later, he carried the responsibility of commander
and chief with him to the presidency where it continues to reside today even
though few of our modern presidents have the military credentials of
When commanding the troops during the revolutionary war, a famous incident that has been captured beautifully by artists was his decision to cross the
Delaware in New Jersey to stage a surprise attack and
win the battle against the British. It
was yet another brilliant maneuver that showed his firm grasp of military
strategy and only served to add to his fame and reputation as an outstanding
leader of men.
After the war,
again was interested in retiring from public life but he was never one to turn
away when his nation needed him. And
needed him it did as he presided over the Continental Congress to assure the
successful drafting of the US Constitution.
Of the many great accomplishments of his life, his ability to provide
leadership and inspiration to that assembly to produce this masterpiece of
American political ligature would certainly be ranked as perhaps his finest
George Washington was rewarded for his superior leadership skills when he was given the awesome responsibility of serving as the nations first President of the
His wisdom and insight into what the nation needed at east stage of its
early development made him the man of the hour for a struggling republic. Few recognize that one of his greatest
contributions to the presidency was recognizing that the nation was torn and
weary of war. So using his considerable
influence and negotiating skills, Washington signed a number of important
treaties that resulted in years of peace that were needed to turn the country
from thoughts of war to thoughts of building a great nation.