I think people would still admire and respect his actions, even in modern times. As the first president, it was up to Washington to set the tone and the precedents for all those who came after him. I think he did an exceptional job. Many believed he would keep running for president until he died, making the presidency more like a monarch. Instead, he bowed out after two terms and let others take his place. I think this was a tremendously courageous thing to do, especially given the fact that most leader during his time expected to keep their power all their lives. In addition, Washington was able to keep the United States out of another war with Britain, one which he knew we could not afford. He helped establish a sound monetary policy and, during the Whiskey Rebellion, established the supremacy of the federal government over the states. When he left office, he took his private papers and went home to live a quiet life without interfering in government affairs. All of these actions were quite remarkable and still earn him the respect of people today.
George Washington was an interesting individual. He had what I like to call 'commanding quietness'. As a young man he fought in the French and Indian War and made some costly miscalculations, and as a result several of the soldiers beneath him in rank lost their lives. This experience had a profound effect on Washington. By the time he was elected by the Continental Congress to lead the newly formed Continental Army, he understood what was at stake. His decisions affected all his soldiers and he did not take that responsibility lightly. Washington always kept the wisdom of his life experiences close by for that very reason. He was a man who remembered that there is value in all experiences, especially the mistakes. Having given this tiny piece of insight into Washington's persona, I believe he would be regarded with great reverence today. Make no mistake, the man did not like to lose and at times he actions could be viewed as a cross between sneaky and genius. (Read about The Battle of Trenton and you will understand) But most importantly Washington was true to his beliefs. Most of all, he learned from his mistakes and was able to turn his disadvantages into advantages. Washington D.C. could probably take a lesson or two from the man who was Washington.
Washington set the tone and really modeled the behavior expected of a President. He was the standard bearer, and he knew that his actions would mark history for all time. Today he would be considered more of an Independent than a member of either political party. He believed that political parties would do great damage to this country.
I think that if he were alive today, he would be very outspoken against the partisan bickering that takes place in the city named for him, Washington, D.C. We take two steps forward and three steps back as the two parties squabble over who gets the credit, while the country suffers its weak leaders and corrupt systems.
Washington and his contemporaries believed that a man's character was especially important when serving in public office. He could have been King, he was loved and adored by all, he did not exploit this opportunity because he knew that it was not the right direction for America.
Washington would be shocked at the power grabbing that goes on today.
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