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?   


  1. eleanor roosevelt; why she stayed with FDR and how she would fix today's problems.

  2. David,
    I've always been fascinated by George Washington too. Recently I read a book about the development of the North American continent. Several pages cover George Washington as a young man (24 years old) as an Indian fighter. Funny, I can't picture George Washington as an indian fighter. Of course the great irony of George Washington was that he was the father of our country but he never had children of his own. Something George and I have in common.
    Who would I like to converse with in history? My five times great grandfather Jonathan Tipton who emigrated to this country from Port Royale, Jamaica in 1692 to Baltimore County, Maryland. I would love to ask him why he was in Jamaica. I know why he left, because his barrel stave business was destroyed during the great earthquake of 1692 that destroyed Jamaica. I have surmised that he was in Jamaica because he was exiled from England (along with many others) because he fought on the wrong side of the King Charles/Cromwell war in England. This from Wikipedia:Cromwell increased the island's white population by sending indentured servants and prisoners captured in battles with the Irish and Scots, as well as some common criminals. This practice was continued under Charles II, and the white population was also augmented by immigrants from the North American mainland and other islands, as well as by the English buccaneers. But tropical diseases kept the number of whites well under 10,000 until about 1740. My ancestor was of Scotch-Irish ancestry. Jonathan was the first Tipton in America. All Tiptons are descended from him. I would love to ask him if he was indeed an indentured servant or criminal sent to Jamaica for English colonization.

  3. I'd want to talk with Louis XIV, about interior decoration. What can I say? I'm superficial.

  4. For me it's always been Rosa Parks.

  5. Oh there are lots of folks from history with whom I would want a chinwag. Shakespeare comes to mind. But I would vote for my ancestor William Spo who came to North America in 1630. There is a lot to clarify.