GEORGE WASHINGTON: INDISPENSABLE TO THE REVOLUTION?

George WashingtonPresident’s Day is coming up in 11 days so here’s yet another seasonal post. It’s one of my random takes on one of our Presidents. Or in this case just one aspect of one of our Presidents. More will be coming, some positive and some negative, including my close personal friend Barack Obama.

GEORGE WASHINGTON – My other posts about Washington have bashed him over the slavery issue, but this particular blog post is on a whole different topic. (Point being don’t leave a juvenile, snarky remark about him being a slave-owner. Everybody knows that. You won’t be retroactively freeing a single slave by indulging your ego that way.)

THE INDISPENSABLE MAN – George Washington is often called the Indispensable Man to the success of the American Revolution. I’m generally not a Washington fan but I’ve yielded on this point over the years. Here are three reasons why:

A. Odd as it may sound, reading several books about the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Turks helped convince me of Washington’s value. His name is never mentioned in any of my books about that war but there are parallels to our Revolution.

Scattered Greek guerrilla/ outlaw chiefs often let their petty feuds distract from fighting the common enemy: the Turks. Some chiefs would even refuse to let their men fight anywhere else in Greece, just in their own little fiefdom. Shades of how our various State Militias endlessly squabbled and would often refuse to cross state lines to continue fighting.

The Greeks lacked one unifying figure like George Washington, who exercised a kind of Eisenhower-style leadership in his – often unsuccessful – efforts to get all our disparate military units on the same page.

B. The outcome of the Greek War of Independence removed any qualms I used to have about the way America made a separate peace with Great Britain while France was still fighting them.

George Washington, from his lifetime in the upper crust, saw what many of us miss about the way Great Britain and France always played their global chess match: “lesser” countries were mostly just excuses to fight each other and jockey for greater position FOR THEMSELVES ONLY by war’s end.

Despite all the European fuss about helping the Greeks gain their independence the fact is that the big European powers were happy to negotiate away chunks of Greek territory and disregard other issues crucial to the Greek people. The Big Powers were happy at war’s end. The Greeks were left with barely enough to survive.

If the U.S. HAD stayed in our war instead of ending it when we could get favorable terms from Great Britain, we probably would have just been whittled down militarily and then when Britain and France made their inevitable temporary peace they might have just divvied up our new country between themselves, wiping us out of existence. AND leaving us with no real army left to try to fight our way out of that plight, like the poor Greeks by their war’s end.

C. Overall strategy. For a man as maligned as George Washington often is when it comes to his military mind, he kept his focus on the LONG VIEW.

His methods of reaching victory – fighting when you can, if you lose at least extricate enough of your forces that you will remain a viable threat and never get caught in a geographical trap – have been imitated by everyone from Wellesley in the Peninsular War through Giap and on to the present day. Sounds like the man knew what he was doing. He was unconventional but successful.     

FOR MY IRREVERENT LOOK AT U.S. PRESIDENTS CLICK HERE:  https://glitternight.com/2012/02/19/balladeers-blogs-presidential-pros-and-cons/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

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2 Comments

Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History

2 responses to “GEORGE WASHINGTON: INDISPENSABLE TO THE REVOLUTION?

  1. George Washington in the French and Indian War (1754-1763)

    “This story of George Washington once appeared in virtually every student text in America, but hasn’t been seen in the last forty years. This story deals with George Washington when he was involved in the French and Indian War as a young man only twenty-three years of age.

    “The French and Indian War occurred twenty years before the American Revolution. It was the British against the French; the Americans sided with the British; and most of the Indians sided with the French. Both Great Britain and France disputed each other’s claims of territorial ownership along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers; both of them claimed the same land.

    “Unable to settle the dispute diplomatically, Great Britain sent 2300 hand-picked, veteran British troops to America under General Edward Braddock to rout the French.

    “The British troops arrived in Virginia, where George Washington (colonel of the Virginia militia) and 100 Virginia buckskins joined General Braddock. They divided their force; and General Braddock, George Washington, and 1300 troops marched north to expel the French from Fort Duquesne — now the city of Pittsburgh. On July 9, 1755 — only seven miles from the fort — while marching through a wooded ravine, they walked right into an ambush; the French and Indians opened fire on them from both sides.

    “But these were British veterans; they knew exactly what to do. The problem was, they were veterans of European wars. European warfare was all in the open. One army lined up at one end of an open field, the other army lined up at the other end, they looked at each other, took aim, and fired. No running, no hiding, But here they were in the Pennsylvania woods with the French and Indians firing at them from the tops of trees, from behind rocks, and from under logs.

    “When they came under fire, the British troops did exactly what they had been taught; they lined up shoulder-to-shoulder in the bottom of that ravine — and were slaughtered. At the end of two hours, 714 of the 1300 British and American troops had been shot down; only 30 of the French and Indians had been shot. There were 86 British and American officers involved in that battle; at the end of the battle, George Washington was the only officer who had not been shot down off his horse — he was the only officer left on horseback.

    “Following this resounding defeat, Washington gathered the remaining troops and retreated back to Fort Cumberland in western Maryland, arriving there on July 17, 1755.

    “The next day, Washington wrote a letter to his family explaining that after the battle was over, he had taken off his jacket and had found four bullet holes through it, yet not a single bullet had touched him; several horses had been shot from under him, but he had not been harmed. He told them:

    “‘By the all powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation.’

    “Washington openly acknowledged that God’s hand was upon him, that God had protected him and kept him through that battle.

    “However, the story does not stop here. Fifteen years later, in 1770 — now a time of peace — George Washington and a close personal friend, Dr. James Craik, returned to those same Pennsylvania woods. An old Indian chief from far away, having heard that Washington had come back to those woods, traveled a long way just to meet with him.

    “He sat down with Washington, and face-to-face over a council fire, the chief told Washington that he had been a leader in that battle fifteen years earlier, and that he had instructed his braves to single out all the officers and shoot them down. Washington had been singled out, and the chief explained that he personally had shot at Washington seventeen different times, but without effect. Believing Washington to be under the care of the Great Spirit, the chief instructed his braves to cease firing at him. He then told Washington:

    “‘I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle…. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.’”

    America’s Godly Heritage
    by David Barton

    • Thanks for the comment! I had never heard this particular story before. With my views on religion and mythology I don’t buy into it as they presented it in this book, but it is an intriguing piece of folklore.

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