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"MR. PRESIDENT": George Washington and the Making of the Nation's Highest Office

by Harlow Giles Unger

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Overview


Although the framers gave the president little authority, George Washington knew whatever he did would set precedents for generations of future leaders. To ensure their ability to defend the nation, he simply ignored the Constitution when he thought it necessary.

In a revealing new look at the birth of American government, “Mr. President” describes Washington's presidency in a time of continual crisis, as rebellion and attacks by foreign enemies threatened to destroy this new nation. Constantly weighing preservation of the Union against preservation of individual liberties and states' rights, Washington assumed more power with each crisis. In a series of brilliant but unconstitutional maneuvers he forced Congress to cede control of the four pillars of executive power: war, finance, foreign affairs, and law enforcement.

Drawing on rare documents and letters, Unger shows how Washington combined political cunning and sheer genius to seize ever-widening powers, impose law and order while ensuring individual freedom, and shape the office of President of the United States.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306822414
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 10/29/2013
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 801,226
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Acclaimed historian Harlow Giles Unger is a former Distinguished Visiting Fellow at George Washington's Mount Vernon. He is the author of twenty-six previous books, including twelve biographies of America's Founding Fathers and three histories of the early Republic. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Prologue 7

Chapter 1 A Mutiny over Bounties 13

Chapter 2 A Coup d'État in Philadelphia 29

Chapter 3 His Highness, the President 65

Chapter 4 "Do You Advise and Consent?" 83

Chapter 5 The Shell Game 107

Chapter 6 Alive with Wrath 121

Chapter 7 Tar and Taxes 133

Chapter 8 The French Plot 149

Chapter 9 "The President Was Much Inflamed" 171

Chapter 10 "Venomous Reptiles on Our Shores" 183

Chapter 11 The Madman and the Indians 199

Chapter 12 The Final Pillar 209

Chapter 13 Farewell from a Friend 219

Chapter 14 First in the Hearts of His Countrymen 225

Appendix: The Pillars of Presidential Power and President Washington's Precedents 235

Notes 241

Bibliography 257

Index 263

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