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In response to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson said, “We sir, Cannot do without you.” Everyone knows George Washington was America’s first president. He has been called the father of the country, the indispensible man, and America’s own Moses. Many will agree that George Washington was a great leader and general; this reviewer even had a hard time finding opposing opinions. Therefore, was George Washington a better General or President?
Washington reluctantly took the position as America’s first president in 1789. He was the first and only president to be unanimously elected and reelected. It was said that Washington was elected because he was trustworthy, courageous, tall, charming, and honorable. Washington believed in following the Constitution. He was basically responsible for creating the government that America still lives and abides by today. He believed that Congress’s job was to make the laws and that it was the president’s job to carry out and enforce them. Washington understood the power of trust and respect. In events such as the French Revolution and the signing of the Jay Treaty, the people did not initially agree with Washington’s decision. Still, Washington trusted that the people would come back to him and understand; he was right.
Compared to later presidents, Washington was far from impressive. He had never been to Europe, knew no foreign languages, had little former education, and was not a great writer or speaker. He basically had to be put into a class by himself. Washington hated dividing into groups, and rarely took sides. George Washington was just an all-around good person. He had great character, morals, and the respect of most americans. Henry T. Tuckerman once said about Washington, “The world has yet to understand the intellectual efficiency derived from moral qualities- how the candor of an honest, clearness of an unperverted mind attains results beyond the mere intelligence and adroitness.”
Before Washington was America’s first president, he was America’s first general. He had three basic ideas, to win the war, gain independence, and to establish a republican, constitutional government. Washington was extremely organized. Most of his time spent during the American Revolution was spent as an organizer/administrator of the army than he did as a military strategist. Without Washington, the army would have fell through before it ever really started. He had ideas and goals for what he hoped his army would become. Washington had to deal with the troubles of short term enlistments, desertions, and poorly equipped soldiers. Since enough soldiers respected, trusted and believed in him they stayed with him and his ideas.
When the Continental Congress needed a general for the new army, Washington wore his Virginia militia uniform every day that the congress was in session. On June 19, 1775 Washington was elected General of the First Continental Army. Washington was a very successful general. Granted that he did make many mistakes during the American Revolution, he did prove himself to be a charismatic leader and fearless battlefield warrior. Washington had success at the New York/ Long Island Campaign, the New Jersey Campaign, Winter Encampment, Monmouth and The Battle of Yorktown.
George Washington was both a good president and general. He was well respected and he earned every bit of honor and recognition he has received. When asked to give Washington’s eulogy, Lincoln Replied: Washington is the mightiest name on earth, long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation. On that name, a eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on. It is hard to pinpoint exactly which position he is better at because he did both so well; this reviewer believes that this is where most people stand. The writer believes that it is an impossible decision to decide, and she believes that Washington is equally good at both leadership positions.