Nations and men require heroes to inspire and provide a standard of excellence. The Founding Fathers have long fulfilled that need. Sadly, the American public has only a shallow familiarity with their words, deeds, and circumstances. This is the result of a media and education environment that ignores the Founders, denigrates their achievements, or fails to comprehend the nuances of their words and actions.
The Founders are worthy of study and emulation for many reasons. First, they set a high standard of devotion to liberty and to the common good. Second, they were men of high principles who operated prudently in the circumstances they lived in. Third, they are heroes because while flawed, they displayed courage and nobility, excellence and foresight creating the American experiment that has long inspired freedom and equality all over the world.
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George Washington, American Hero
Americans have willfully forgotten the greatest American hero, George Washington. Therefore, we will survey some of Washington’s greatest deeds to remind us why he was “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
George Washington led a rag-tag band of rebels against the greatest empire then in existence, ensured respect for civilian control was maintained, and prevented mutinies from destroying the very liberty the officers and men were fighting for. When the war was won he returned to his farm rather than retain power as a Cromwell or a Napoleon.
Later, he was instrumental at the Annapolis and Constitutional Conventions. His gravitas helped to ensure the Constitution was approved and secured his position as the first president of the United States. During his two terms in office he established the norms we still wish the executive branch to abide by and navigated difficult domestic as well as foreign issues. Finally, he yet again relinquished power for the sake of the Union and returned to his beloved farm, Mount Vernon.
The Reputation of our First President
Washington deserves his reputation as the greatest American for his actions before, during, and after the American Revolution. His devotion to duty preserved the blessings of liberty for the Republic. It is easy for us, the beneficiaries of his deeds, to misunderstand how rare it is for a successful Revolution to not lead to tyranny and how many times the American effort was on the verge of failure only to be sustained by the wisdom, words, and deeds of Washington.
George Washington was the essential man of the American Revolution and the early years of the Republic. He is worthy of his long standing reputation as an American hero.
Zachary Rogers is a member of the Emerging Leaders Council.