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George Washington's War

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2004

    An Average Book on Washington

    Chadwick's book seeks to show how George Washington's experiences as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army greatly influenced the development of the presidency. The book relies almost exclusively on decisions Washington made during his winter encampments at Morristown and Valley Forge. Although I found the book to lack the cohesiveness and style of McCullough's John Adams, I primarily enjoyed the book for its anecdotal value. For example, Washington had the ring leaders of the Pompton Mutiny executed by their closest friends and fellow mutineers to make a point. Chadwick obviously admires Washington, as we all should, but he need not offer evidence of how Washington treated his slaves humanely to somehow lessen our revulsion that he owned slaves. I am tired of historians feeling like they need to apologize for or criticize our founding fathers because they owned slaves. Slavery is an abhorrent evil in our generation, but it wasn't so in the late 18th century. Men like Washington and Jefferson never thought of themselves as evil men for owning slaves.

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