Essay on George Washington - the Right Leader at the Right Time

1779 Words Dec 16th, 2012 8 Pages
US History I
Midterm Essay
George Washington: The Right Leader at the Right Time

“Good moral character is the first essential in a man.” George Washington wrote in a letter to his nephew in 17901, during his second year serving as the first President of the United States. Not only is it an excellent lesson to teach a young boy, but it was also an integral part of Washington’s personality that would permeate his life and actions. Most know him simply as one of the founding fathers of our nation, a great leader during wartime, and our first and perhaps greatest President. But he was a complex man that fought through self-doubt, immense stress, and longing for his family, much like any normal man would. He was indeed human after
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As a boy, he was seemingly quite affected by a school exercise in which he transcribed the “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” which outlined ways to conduct oneself in various aspects of life.6
These lessons would seem to stay with him throughout his life. He is also erroneously quoted as saying “I can’t tell a lie,” from the infamous story about how he chopped down his father’s cherry tree as a child, which was actually a story either strongly exaggerated or wholly concocted by Parson Weems some years after Washington’s death.7
Lawrence ended up becoming his surrogate father and a role model for George, and also became the conduit for George obtaining his first job as a public servant at 17 years old, a surveyor for Culpepper County in Virginia. Lawrence later would become a militia leader, but died of tuberculosis in 1752. His position was split up, and George was appointed to one of the positions - the rank of major in the Virginia militia, lending him some of his early military experience at the age of 20.8
His charisma was also a factor in his appointment. He was an imposing man at a full six feet tall with large bones, and stood a whole head above everyone else of the time,9 so his physicality would certainly have influenced how he was perceived by his peers. “The delegates got to know Washington over tavern tables. He was still quiet but always affable, ready to

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