Important Speeches and Documents in the Formation of America: George Washington, Commander in Chief

Historian Ben Martin continues his Important Speeches and Documents in the Formation of America series with George Washington as Commander in Chief.

Important Speeches and Documents in the Formation of America: George Washington, Commander in Chief

Today we continue with our 2020 Program called ‘Important Speeches & Documents of the American Founding,’  with our 2nd Presentation entitled ‘Washington as CINC Commander in Chief (End of the Revolutionary War).’

As we discussed during last month’s presentation, this new program will include one presentation each month, from January through December of 2020.  Each program will be focused on a major figure, such as George Washington, The Father of our Country, or Abraham Lincoln, The Father of our 2nd Founding; or a major event, such as the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Ratification of the Constitution, or Slavery.

In each of these presentations we will discuss some of the important Speeches and Documents produced by the principal player(s) in conjunction with or in the furtherance of the significant events of that period.  It is also relevant to understand the environment under which the principal players produced those important speeches & documents.  What were the dangers they faced, what were the surrounding conditions, what were the stakes!?! By so focusing our presentations, we will be better able to know the significant events, and understand the courage it took to speak or write, and/or take their actions, and how they helped to influence or effect those events, and more importantly, to understand why those events were important then and are still important today.

This is how we become American Patriots or maybe better American Patriots.

First, let us set a common understanding of Patriot.  A ‘Patriot’ is a person who loves their country.  James Wilson, an important Founder who signed both the Declaration and Constitution, and later became a Justice on the 1st U.S. Supreme Court, famously said words to the effect – before something can become an object of your heart, it must first become an object of your head.  In other words, one must truly know something before he can truly love it.

The vast majority of us Americans are rational & open-minded, and when we are able to better know the amazing Founding Heritage we have been given, when that Heritage becomes a prominent object of our mind, it will, without fail, soon become a prominent object of our heart, and we will become a true American Patriot.  Another important benefit of this knowledge & understanding of our Founding Heritage, most eloquently spoken by James Madison, our 4th President, and most famously known as the Father of our Constitution, goes like this – ‘A well-instructed people alone, can be permanently a free people.’  Do not we all want to be a ‘permanently free people!?!’  Of Course we do!!!

This 2nd Month’s Presentation in this Program of Important Speeches and Documents of the American Founding is focused on George Washington, The Father of Our Country!  It is the 2nd of a series of 3 Presentations focused on him.

This 2nd Presentation involves 3 Events:

  1. Washington Quelling a rebellion among the Officers of the Army, 15 Mar 1783, after the Battle of Yorkton had been won and the fighting had stopped, but the Peace Treaty (Treaty of Paris, 3 Sep 1783) had not yet been signed.
  2. The Next event occurs , after the Treaty of Paris has been signed and the last British Military Forces are evacuating NYC. On 25 Nov 1783, General Washington and his Army triumphantly enter the city at its Northern end and conduct a grand parade all the way to the Southern tip, accompanied by NY Gov Clinton. On 4 Dec, at Fraunces Tavern, Gen Washington conducted his last military ceremony.  “Few events in American history are as emotional, well remembered, and so poorly documented as ‘Washington’s Farewell to His Officers.’”
  3. The last event occurs in the Maryland State House in Annapolis, which is the temporary home of the American Capital and the Confederation Congress at that time. There on 23 Dec, Washington shocks the Congress, the Nation, and much of the outside world by resigning his commission and returns home to Mt Vernon! King George’s reaction is certainly worth revisiting.

References:

  1. Much of these events are well covered in a book written by William M. Fowler, Jr. entitled American Crisis: George Washington and the Dangerous Two Years After Yorktown, 1781-1783.
  2. For Internet Links:

Event a – Washington Quells the Officer Rebellion at Newburgh

http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/revolution/prevents.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newburgh_Conspiracy

Event b – Washington’s Farewell to His Officers

https://worldhistory.us/american-history/general-washington-bids-farewell-to-his-officers.php

https://www.nysun.com/opinion/why-washington-wept/67471/

Event c – Washington Resigns His Commission

https://www.aoc.gov/art/historic-rotunda-paintings/general-george-washington-resigning-his-commission

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington%27s_resignation_as_commander-in-chief

 

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