Washington’s Gift

Here is a Christmas story known to few but historians, well worth reading by all Americans:  Washington’s Gift byThomas Fleming, Wall Street Journal, 24 December 2007 — “Our revolution could have ended in despotism, like so many others.”  Subscription only.

Here is the opening (an open copy appears at the David Gold website):

There is a Christmas story at the birth of this country that very few Americans know. It involves a single act by George Washington — his refusal to take absolute power — that affirms our own deepest beliefs about self-government, and still has profound meaning in today’s world. To appreciate its significance, however, we must revisit a dark period at the end of America’s eight-year struggle for independence.

The story begins with Gen. Washington’s arrival in Annapolis, Md., on December 19, 1783. The country was finally at peace — just a few weeks earlier the last British army on American soil had sailed out of New York harbor. But the previous eight months had been a time of terrible turmoil and anguish for General Washington, outwardly always so composed. His army had been discharged and sent home, unpaid, by a bankrupt Congress — without a victory parade or even a statement of thanks for their years of sacrifices and sufferings.

Instead, not a few congressmen and their allies in the press had waged a vitriolic smear campaign against the soldiers — especially the officers, because they supposedly demanded too much money for back pay and pensions. …

Fleming’s latest book is The Perils of Peace: America’s Struggle for Survival After Yorktown.

Other posts about good news

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  14. There is no “peak water” crisis  (19 June 2008)

Click here for all posts discussing good news about America’s future.

One thought on “Washington’s Gift

  1. Yes, indeed. A very significant event very few Americans in this day and age know about. This one event probably kept the United States of America from becoming a two-bit Latin-American-style dictatorship with a new revolution every twenty years.

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