The Battle of Monmouth in 1778 was one of the most important battles in American history, but for many Americans it remains a mystery. A new biography by Washington biographer Douglas Wilson has uncovered some previously unknown details about General George Washington’s thoughts on fighting like the British.
The george washington quotes is a biography written by the Washington biographer, Douglas Southall Freeman. In his book, Freeman argues that George Washington wanted to fight like the British and not the Americans.
A surprising perspective on the Founding Father refutes historians’ claims that he was a rogue leader.
Robert L. O’Connell’s Revolutionary: George Washington at War
Another biography, but this time one that cleverly positions George Washington’s greatest achievement as leading history’s most successful revolution, rather than military or presidential ability. Historian O’Connell wraps up his story in 1783, and although his research isn’t groundbreaking, few readers will be turned off by this colorful, passionate account.
Charles Willson Peale painted a picture of George Washington as colonel of the Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War in 1772. (Courtesy of the Washington-Custis-Lee Collection, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.)
Washington, as portrayed by O’Connell, grew up as a devoted British subject and a minor scion of the Virginia nobility. He wasn’t an academic, but he had the same aspirations as his fellow virile young southern gentlemen: acquire property, become wealthy, and achieve military glory. Washington had acquired all of them by the time the colonies’ ties with Britain deteriorated. Historians attribute his participation in the French and Indian War, which earned him a reputation as a hero among colonists, to bravery and self-promotion more than skill. He retired in 1758 and spent the years between the wars as a rich landowner. He shared the general hostility to Britain’s post-1765 attempts to tax the colonies, as did most of his kind, who were indebted to British agents. When the Continental Congress resolved to choose a general to command patriot troops in 1775, Washington made no secret of his desire for the position. Other candidates ran for office, but he was the undisputed winner.
Some historians liken Washington to Fidel Castro or Josip Broz, nicknamed Marshal Tito, as a leader of outlaws. Washington viewed himself as a European-style leader commanding a disciplined army in the vast open-field exercises that were doctrinaire in 18th century warfare, according to O’Connell. As a result, he remained a true aristocracy. From Robespierre to Lenin to Mao, revolutionaries were educated intellectuals who justified brutality and death as essential for the greater good. Washington, who was uneducated and middle-class, despised but accepted his troops’ ungentlemanly behavior. Few rebel Americans opposed to colonial loyalists being persecuted. There was no civilized warfare law that applied to Indians. In his haste to make his argument, O’Connell glosses over a lot of poor patriotism. Nonetheless, British troops, who had a history of brutalizing Irish rebels, handled Americans brutally.
It takes a lot of effort to describe Washington as a great strategist, but it’s a no-brainer to infer that he was a clever politician who led a motley army through a violent revolution, suffering many losses but never unleashing the malevolence that later revolutionaries unleashed. He begged for support for eight years to a rattled-brained Continental Congress, which replied with its customary bumbles. From Cromwell to today’s gang of military dictators, generals have taken the obvious step, but Washington has never considered it. European observers saw Washington’s patience and performance as nearly superhuman even at the time, and O’Connell presents a compelling argument that they were correct. Mike Oppenheim is a freelance writer based in Lexington, Kentucky.
Washington Biographer Contends the General Wanted to Fight Like the British is a Washington biography by Douglas Southall Freeman. It was published in 1948. Reference: george washington presidency.
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