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Sons of the Father

George Washington and His Protégés

Edited by Robert M. S. McDonald

Publication Year: 2013

Whether acting as a military officer or civilian officeholder, George Washington did not possess a reputation for glad handing, easy confidences, or even much warmth. His greatest attributes as a commander might well have been his firm command over his own emotions and the way in which he held himself above if not apart from the men he led. Understanding the full range of Washington's leadership, which embraced all shades of persuasion and coercion as well as multiple modes of command and solicitude, requires the examination of his influence on the lives, careers, and characters of the members of a diverse fraternity of younger men.

In Sons of the Father, leading scholars analyze Washington's relationships with men such as Daniel Morgan, Anthony Wayne, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Henry Knox, Nathanael Greene, Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton, and the Marquis de Lafayette. The men on whom this volume focuses were not all his closest associates. Yet all are important figures in that their interactions with Washington provide glimpses into various aspects of his capacities for management, motivation, control, and the cultivation of talent. The essays in this volume demonstrate Washington's consistency in treating all these men differently, for different reasons, at different times. It was perhaps part of his genius to recognize the individuality of the men with whom he interacted as well as the shifting requirements of changing circumstances.

Contributors: Fred Anderson (University of Colorado, Boulder) * Theodore J. Crackel (University of Virginia) * William M. Ferraro (University of Virginia) * Jack P. Greene (Johns Hopkins University) * John W. Hall (University of Wisconsin–Madison) * Peter R. Henriques (George Mason University) * Mary-Jo Kline (University of Virginia) * Stuart Leibiger (La Salle University) * L. Scott Philyaw (Western Carolina University) * Thomas Rider (United States Military Academy) * Brian Steele (University of Alabama at Birmingham) * Mary Stockwell (LSU Shreveport) * Mark Thompson (University of North Carolina at Pembroke)

Published by: University of Virginia Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xxv

George Washington fathered no children, but he never lacked for sons. This volume considers his influence on the lives, careers, and characters of the members of a diverse fraternity of younger men that included military commanders such as Nathanael Greene as well as political figures such as Gouverneur Morris. With some, such as Henry Knox and the Marquis de ...


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pp. xxvii-xxviii

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pp. 1-19

When you read the essays in this volume, I believe you will agree with me that a circle encompassing all of Washington’s “sons” would have to be rather widely drawn. In fact, let me suggest a relational construct that will define several of these characters outside the circle of “sons,” and in two cases even outside the familial circle. These latter two are Daniel Morgan and Robert Kirkwood, men whose ...

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George Washington’s Mentors

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pp. 21-30

Young people have always needed older ones to guide them, but if some kindly soul had taken George Washington aside at age sixteen and told him how much he would benefit from having a good “mentor,” he wouldn’t have had a clue what that person was talking about. At least according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest recorded use of ...

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“The Spirit and Ardor of a Veteran Soldier”

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pp. 31-51

George Washington knew Daniel Morgan for many more years than any other “son” under consideration in this volume. While the precise date is unknown, it is probable that Washington and Morgan met during the 1750s while at the approximate ages of twenty- five and twenty- one, respectively—roughly the age of a typical graduate or undergraduate student. It ...

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Most Loyal but Forgotten Son

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pp. 52-71

When Henry Lee, then the governor of Virginia, learned that his friend George Washington had appointed Anthony Wayne as the commander of the army to be sent west to defeat the Indian confederation formed to halt the advance of the Americans across the Ohio River—a confederation that had already destroyed armies serving under Josiah Harmar ...

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“General Washington Did Not Harbor One Principle of Federalism”

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pp. 72-98

From the earliest decade of the nineteenth century, Americans have always wanted to have their George Washington and their Thomas Jefferson too. Peter Parish has suggested that the National Mall in Washington, D.C., symbolizes America’s “secular trinity”: Washington, the Father; Abraham Lincoln, the Son; and Jefferson, the “guiding spirit.”1 But ...

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George Washington and James Monroe

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pp. 99-120

James Monroe, born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on April 28, 1758, was more than twenty-six years younger than George Washington, who was born in the same county in February 1732. Given Washington’s stature in Virginia for his accomplishments as a colonial army officer and his participation in colonial assemblies, it is likely that Monroe knew of ...

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Guns of the Revolution

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pp. 121-148

On July 6, 1775, Washington for the first time looked upon the army that Congress had recently adopted and placed under his command. What he saw this day must have caused him to pause at the enormity of the task before him. The new Continental Army, the primary means by which he was supposed to counter superior British regulars, was a ...

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“My Favorite Officer”

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pp. 149-168

George Washington might have considered November 16, 1776, the worst day in what had already been a very bad year. Happy memories of American victories around Boston faded in late summer and early autumn as British forces embarrassed the Americans on Long Island and then outmaneuvered them on Manhattan, turning the Continentals out ...

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Gouverneur Morris and George Washington

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pp. 169-188

What unlikely candidates for friendship: George Washington, the model of a Virginia gentleman, famed in his time and ours for faultless rectitude and reserved behavior, and Gouverneur Morris, a cosmopolitan New Yorker twenty years Washington’s junior, an irrepressible jokester with a reputation that led Richard Brookhiser, one of his most recent ...

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The Great Collaboration

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pp. 189-209

Alexander Hamilton is unique even among the inner circle of the six most famous and renowned Founding Fathers. George Washington lived until he was sixty- seven, and the others—Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jeff erson, James Madison, and John Adams—all lived into their eighties or beyond (Adams was ninety). Hamilton was dead before his fiftieth ...

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George Washington and Lafayette

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pp. 210-231

Virtually all historical works on George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette affirm the existence of a father- son relationship between the two men. Most of these works do not, however, probe the nature of this association very deeply. Instead, most take it for granted, and some romanticize it. For example, David A. Clary’s Adopted Son: Washington, ...

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Son of the Army

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pp. 232-256

As the sun rose on the morning of November 4, 1791, warriors of the Shawnee, Miami, and other allied tribes sprang from the woods surrounding the United States Army encampment on the banks of the Wabash River in what is today western Ohio. In little more than three hours of intense fighting, they encircled and virtually destroyed Major General ...

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pp. 257-268

This essay departs somewhat from the theme of this volume to address the issue of leadership, a subject on which Don Higginbotham did some of his best work about thirty- five years ago. His perceptive essay on the military dimensions of leadership appeared in a volume emanating from a Library of Congress symposium in May 1974 entitled Leadership ...


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pp. 269-274


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pp. 275-285

E-ISBN-13: 9780813934396
E-ISBN-10: 0813934397
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813934389
Print-ISBN-10: 0813934389

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2013