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Fatherhood and Washington

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 9:23 PM

After enjoying Richard Brookhiser's most recent book, What Would the Founders Do?, I decided to look back at an earlier volume, Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington (Free Press, 1996).

Among Brookhiser's more interesting assessments is Washington's role as the father of the country:

Fatherhood, as any society understands it, is the result of training and an act of will. A man who would be a father in name as well as fact must go beyond what is merely natural. A father is a man who follows through. This is why it was particularly appropriate that Washington came to be known as the father of his country, for he was the founder, above all others, who followed through.

The author reminds us that Washington could have chosen to stay at Mount Vernon, rather than serve in the Continental Congress, lead the revolutionary army, lead the Constitutional convention, and lead the fledgling United States as president for two full terms.

Washington was the most important man in America, whether he was onstage or off, for twenty-four years; for seventeen of those years, he was front and center. It is a record unmatched in our history, scarcely matched in the histories of modern democracies. 

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