In George Washington’s Final Battle, Robert P. Watson brings this tale to life, telling how the country's first president tirelessly advocated for a capital on the shores of the Potomac. Washington envisioned and had a direct role in planning many aspects of the city that would house the young republic. In doing so, he created a landmark that gave the fledgling democracy credibility, united a fractious country, and created a sense of American identity.
Although Washington died just months before the federal government's official relocation, his vision and influence live on in the city that bears his name.
This little-known story of founding intrigue throws George Washington’s political acumen into sharp relief and provides a historical lesson in leadership and consensus-building that remains relevant today. This book will fascinate anyone interested in the founding period, the American presidency, and the history of Washington, DC.
|Publisher:||Georgetown University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.50(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Table of ContentsPreface
Introduction: The “Other” Founding Debates
PART I. GEORGE WASHINGTON’S EARLY LIFE AND AMERICAN VISION
1. Surveying a Future
2. Western Adventures
3. The Dispensations of Providence
4. Potomac Fever
PART II. THE QUESTION OF A CAPITAL
6. Swords in their Hands
8. The Day the War Ended
9. A Singular Destiny
10. Fixing the Seat of Government
11. Political Architecture
PART III. THE GREAT DEBATE
13. Ten Miles Square
14. An Inauguration
15. New York City
16. The Great Debate
17. The (Second) Most Famous Dinner in History
PART IV. CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE
18. The Grand Compromise
20. The Residence Act of 1790
21. The City of Washington
22. Financing the Capital
PART V. BUILDING THE CAPITAL
23. The Architect
24. Intrigues and Injuries
25. A Design Contest
26. Building the President’s House
27. A House Divided
PART VI. LEGACY
28. Washington (Never) Slept Here
29. A Pedestal Waiting for a Monument
30. Temple of Liberty
31. The Father of His Country
32. 'Tis Well
Epilogue: The Building Is in a State to Be Habitable
Appendix A. Chronological List of Temporary Capitals Appendix B. List of Possible Locations for the Capital
What People are Saying About This
Watson brings to life the very human father of our country. He takes George Washington down from his pedestal and invites us to judge his triumphs and setbacks from the earthen battlefields of the American frontier to the political salons of our nascent republic. Washington combines his lifetime love for the Potomac with his determination to build a glorious capital along its shores against the determined opposition of many of his contemporaries. This astute politician gives a little here and takes a little more there to earn the victory that many of us now take for granted, but was far from inevitable.
In clear prose, both accessible and insightful, Watson portrays George Washington as a great yet flawed hero, the leader whose character and vision helped to win the Revolutionary War and initiate the building of a new city from which the new nation could be governed. Washington understood that this country needed a national identity, and that a new capital city was an essential building block for such an identity. Watson considers this phase of Washington's career his 'final battle' and amply demonstrates his characterization of it as an 'epic struggle'.
In 1791, the commissioners of the Federal District named the nascent capital city in honor of President George Washington, but as historian Robert Watson demonstrates, he went on to earn that honor during the course of his presidency. Washington's vision for a national capital was central to its planning, design, and location, but it was his administrative skills, political gravitas, and attention to detail that brought this vision to life. Watson masterfully weaves together how Washington's many life experiences shaped his ideas on self-government, nationhood, and the power of perception; truly, Washington's trials and tribulations prepared him for one of his most overlooked accomplishmentsthe building of the nation's capital.
Professor Watson brings to life the very human Father of Our Country. He takes George Washington down from his pedestal and invites us to judge his triumphs and setbacks from the earthen battlefields of the American frontier to the political salons of our nascent republic. Washington combines his lifetime love for the Potomac with his determination to build a glorious capital along its shores against the determined opposition of many of his contemporaries. This astute politician gives a little here and takes a little more there to earn the victory that many of us now take for granted, but was far from inevitable.
Unbeknownst to the millions of tourists who visit our nation's capital is the story of the contentious struggle to build a permanent seat of government, which Robert Watson so eloquently depicts in George Washington's Final Battle. Watson regales readers with an extraordinarily detailed account of the debates that overshadowed all the other issues the fledgling nation faced as it came to realize Washington's passion for creating a 'great city,' one which would unify the country and inspire all Americans. This is a must read for those interested in the founding era!
A fine and full account of the much-contested founding of Washington, DC. Watson demonstrates clearly and convincingly why the first president deserved to have the nation's capital bear his name.