Wednesday, October 19, 2016
An Afternoon with George
If I could spend an afternoon with George Washington, what would we talk about? I live about 8 miles north of George Washington's Mt Vernon Estate, on a hilltop that was once owned by George Washington. The longer I live here and the more time I spend at Mt Vernon the better I seem to understand the man who was our first President. It would be a real adventure to spend an afternoon with him.
I think I asked him about the American Revolution. He was born and raised as an Englishmen, and he led an army in a revolution against the Crown. We kind of understand why, but I wonder did he do it for political, or economic reasons? Did they do think the distance from England would make it easy? How big of an influence was the French Revolution? Did he worry that if the Revolution failed, he would be hanged as a traitor? If he had it to do over again, would he?
History tells us that he dismissed the idea of being King, and that the decision on the form of governance was not an easy one. Why not become the first King? The vote was only given to white landowning men, why? Did everyone agree on that, or was it a compromise? The most recent history display at Mt Vernon tells that slavery was a compromise to form a national government. GW freed his slaves at his wife's death in his will. How did he feel about the people who were slaves? Did he ever imagine that former slaves would gain full equality in American society? Did he worry that educating slaves would empower them to want freedom?
In light of the current political climate in the USA, what was his vision for political organization? Did he envision political parties? If so how many? How can we shift political power from the parties back to politicians?
Mt Vernon was a scientific model of a self sufficient farm. What did he want to do at Mt Vernon that he didn't get to do? What was his proudest achievement as a farmer and business man?
So who from history would you like to spend an afternoon with? What would you talk about?