George Washington by George Washington
Writings (Library of America)

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Bringing together 450 letters, orders, addresses, and other significant historical documents penned by America's first president during the course of his life, a substantial anthology is arranged chronologically beginning with a journal written at age sixteen.

About George Washington

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George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Va., on Feb. 22, 1732. His father died in 1743, and Washington went to live with his half brother Lawrence at Mount Vernon. He was appointed surveyor for Culpeper County in 1749. Washington's brother died in 1752 he ultimately inherited the Mount Vernon estate. Washington first gained public notice when, as adjutant of one of Virginia's four military districts, he was dispatched in October 1753 by Govenor Robert Dinwiddie on a fruitless mission to warn the French commander at Fort Le Boeuf against further encroachment on territory claimed by Britain. Discouraged by his defeat and angered by discrimination between British and colonial officers in rank and pay, he resigned his commission near the end of 1754. The next year, however, he volunteered to join British general Edward Braddock's expedition against the French. In 1755, at the age of 23, he was promoted to colonel and appointed commander in chief of the Virginia militia, with responsibility for defending the frontier. In 1758 he took an active part in Gen. John Forbes's successful campaign against Fort Duquesne. Assured that the Virginia frontier was safe from French attack, Washington left the army in 1758 and returned to Mount Vernon, directing his attention toward restoring his neglected estate. With the support of an ever-growing circle of influential friends, he entered politics, serving from 1759 to 1774 in Virginia's House of Burgesses. After 1769, Washington became a leader in Virginia's opposition to Great Britain's colonial policies. As a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congress, Washington did not participate actively in the deliberations. In June 1775 he was Congress's unanimous choice as commander in chief of the Continental forces. Washington took command of the troops surrounding British-occupied Boston on July 3, 1775. After the war, Washington returned to Mount Vernon. He became president of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of former Revolutionary War officersand in May 1787, Washington headed the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and was unanimously elected presiding officer. After the new Constitution was submitted to the states for ratification and became legally operative, he was unanimously elected president in 1789. Washington was reelected president in 1792. By March 1797, when Washington left office, the country's financial system was well established; the Indian threat east of the Mississippi had been largely eliminated; and Jay's Treaty and Pinckney's Treaty with Spain had enlarged U.S. territory and removed serious diplomatic difficulties. Although Washington reluctantly accepted command of the army in 1798 when war with France seemed imminent, he did not assume an active role. He preferred to spend his last years in happy retirement at Mount Vernon. In mid-December, Washington contracted an illness; he declined rapidly and died at his estate on Dec. 14, 1799. John Rhodehamel is the Norris Foundation Curator of American Historical Manuscripts at the Huntington Library.Thomas F. Schwartz is curator of the Lincoln collection at the Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield.
Published February 22, 1997 by Library of America. 1184 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for George Washington

The New York Times

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n the space of his own lifetime, George Washington saw himself canonized, transformed from a gung-ho fox-hunting Virginia squire into a transcendent symbol of the new American nation.

Oct 26 2004 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

The New York Times

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No matter how thoroughly he perused the maps at his disposal in planning the Canada campaign of 1775-76, for instance, Washington had to admit that his “ignorance of the country” prevented him from giving Philip Schuyler “peremptory orders” because the major general knew the lay of the land bette...

Dec 03 2010 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

The New York Times

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In addition, Mr. Lengel says, many efforts have been made to “prove” that Washington added the phrase “so help me God” to the presidential oath of office in 1789, even though “the evidence is against” this argument: “There are no contemporary accounts indicating that Washington said ‘so help me G...

Mar 21 2011 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

Publishers Weekly

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Like other volumes in the American Presidents series, edited by Arthur Schlesinger Jr., this biographical essay focuses on a handful of themes through which to examine Washington's life before and during his presidency.

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BC Books

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Ellis' answer is a slightly qualified yes, as he traces Washington's life from his youthful, energetic, impulsive military decisions — and a string of near-catastrophic mistakes — to his later, steady leadership of the fledgling American republic.

Nov 12 2009 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

The Washington Times

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While things began well with “a tall, properly attired Washington clutching a Farewell Address in his hand,” malicious spirits must have been present as well, since Washington’s ghost “slipped on an orange peel that had been tossed on stage by a skeptic.” Possibly stretching its definition of “al...

Apr 08 2011 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

The Washington Times

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corpses that were responsible for the final color beneath Washington’s boots: blood red.” The long political knives were out for Washington - “not a British noose, but an American one.” The Continental Congress tried to micromanage the general’s conduct of the war by commissioning a board to over...

Dec 28 2011 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

Los Angeles Times

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This book uses maps from George Washington's time – made by Washington and others – to understand the first president in the context of his time.

Oct 10 2010 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

The Washington Post

There's no doubt about it: A burning ambition fueled Washington's ascent.

Jul 02 2009 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

Huntington News

He began his army service as a Special Forces medic with First Group, attended parachute school at Fort Benning in 1964, received a regular army commission through ROTC at the University of Washington in 1966, fought in Vietnam’s war with the fabled 2ndBattalion of the 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airbo...

May 31 2012 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

Mysterious Reviews

Hays introduces novice private investigator Karen Maxwell in George Washington Stepped Here, the first of three in a series and originally released as a book in the Heartsong Present Mysteries book club but now available for purchase separately.Karen works for her brother Dave, a private investig...

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Aside from military correspondence — largely complaints — Washington's writing is relentlessly dull.

Jun 12 2006 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

Beck is making the point that Washington relied on providence, but did not presume on it.

Nov 26 2011 | Read Full Review of George Washington : Writings ...

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