Today’s Lecture: General Washington: A Study in Virtue and The Establishment of American Nationhood
Lecture Organization: Class Announcements Brief review American Revolution Pre-game show First Quarter Second Quarter Third Quarter Fourth Quarter Newburgh Conspiracy His Presidency Race and Slavery
1/18/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.4 The aims of the lecture To give student some context about how central Washington was to the American revolution To show what Washington did nationhood and for the presidency To show students some of the interesting features of Washington’s life, particularly his decision making character
Class Announcements Online Lectures -- we’ve got a problem. -- New plan: will only post “new” lectures Class Participation -- Please don’t forget to hand in your comments at the end of the day.
Class Announcements Student Repository -- This class is for number 4. Questions? note about entries -- Megan has been entering summaries, and they are good. Take a look at them for an example of what you should do.
Review Washington … -- “the person” -- involvement in the French/Indian war -- started talking about his involvement in the American revolution
Review the big things … -- Washington almost lost the war in the first few days of the first major battle -- He had wanted an honorable confrontation -- He does get that honor at Trenton and Princeton, where he won two victories Manhattan mistake
Review the big things … -- He then adopts asymmetrical warfare tactics -- Costs of this strategy is that it concedes territory and allows the opponent to run roughshod over the country “Fabias Strategy”
Review the big things … -- Britain had expected the war to be quick -- Its war machine was far, far more powerful than anything colonial America had British war machine
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.11 The American Revolution:Second Quarter Brits take everything -- The Fabias Strategy begins -- Brits decide to attack Philadelphia -- strategic center? -- Washington defeated at Brandywine, Germantown -- colonial government in exile (Maryland) unpopular war?
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.12 The American Revolution:Second Quarter Brits take everything -- The Fabias Strategy begins -- Brits decide to attack Philadelphia -- strategic center? -- Washington defeated at Brandywine, Germantown -- colonial government in exile (Maryland) unpopular war? “Popular support for the war continued to sputter. As one French partisan of the cause noted, “There is a hundred times more support for the revolution in any Paris cafe than in all the colonies together.”
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.13 The American Revolution:Second Quarter Lord Howe’s Navigational Mistake -- He is supposed to rendezvous with Burgoyne
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.14 stranded
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.15 The American Revolution:Second Quarter Lord Howe’s Navigational Mistake -- He is supposed to rendezvous with Burgoyne -- Saratoga -- The French and loans -- The peace proposal (dual sovereignty)
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.16 The American Revolution:Third Quarter Valley Forge -- the key to the war Question: Why? Answer: The survival of the army was paramount
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.17 The American Revolution:Third Quarter Valley Forge -- the key to the war -- suffering was immense Real Suffering – The shoeless soldiers tracking blood on the snow. No blankets. Most of the horses died from decay or exposure, and their decaying carcasses filled the air with the stench of the blood in the snow to create sensory images that Washington never forgot. This changed Washington’s conception of virtue. It was no longer an abstract concept. [Source: Joseph Ellis]
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.18 The American Revolution:Third Quarter Valley Forge -- the key to the war -- suffering was immense -- They managed to survive They Survive – What did not happen at Valley Forge was more important than what did. The most important thing that did not happen was the dissolution of the continental army. It is not clear how many men died of disease and exposure at valley forge, but new recruits and new re-enlistments bolstered the size of the army to 12,000 in March of 1778, with a core of about 5,000 battle-tested veterans. [Source: Joseph Ellis]
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.19 The American Revolution:Third Quarter Valley Forge the composition of the army had changed Washington’s views about slavery change Washington’s “world views” begin to change
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.20 The American Revolution:Third Quarter Valley Forge the composition of the army had changed Washington’s views about slavery change Washington’s “world views” begin to change Valley Forge – Enlistments The days of popular enthusiasm for the war were gone forever, as were the enlistments of yeomen farmers and the kind of men who had participated in the Boston siege. Now, the army was composed of indentured servants, former slaves, landless sons and recent immigrants from Ireland and England. Young men between 15-25 years of age. These were the people at valley forge. Their formed a bond between the general and his soldiers. The troops would sing songs like “war and Washington” over and over again to the dismay of visitors. Washington not only admired their suffering, but saw that it was their staying power that ensured the eventual American victory. [Source: Joseph Ellis]
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.21 The American Revolution:Third Quarter Monmouth victory hard drilling and victory
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.22 The American Revolution:Third Quarter Southern strategy -- Brits embark upon a new campaign in the south -- It will be successful again (overtaking cities, winning battles) -- there are rumors that England is summoning another armada of troops to send over here.
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.23 French Troops
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.24 The American Revolution:Third Quarter Mutinies -- several mutinies by continental troops March on Philadelphia by unpaid troops mutiny in New Jersey (Washington had those members executed)
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.25 The American Revolution:Third Quarter failure of central governance -- one of the stunning lessons Washington had learned was how ineffective American governing institutions were -- weak institutions could not properly supply the army, let alone pay them -- compare this to England. (leaves a big impression on W) -- had to order his men to steal cattle in New Jersey -- the currency was a joke
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.26 The American Revolution:Third Quarter failure of central governance -- one of the stunning lessons Washington had learned was how ineffective American governing institutions were -- weak institutions could not properly supply the army, let alone pay them -- compare this to England. (leaves a big impression on W) -- had to order his men to steal cattle in New Jersey -- the currency was a joke “The Failure of the Republican Experiment” – He noted that the best men in America preferred to slumber in the state houses while the common interest of America fell into ruin. “Why was the congress failing to prosecute profiteers and forestallers, hoarders who jacked up the prices of supplies needed by the army, who were pests of society and should be hung on gallows.” How could a responsible group of legislators allow the currency to become a standing joke? The inflation to spiral to such heights? (Expression: Not worth a continental). The failure of political leadership at the national level which had caused corruption, inflation, broken promises.... “infinitely more to be dreaded than the force of great Britain.” Parliament and the British ministry could impose taxes and raise an army because they possessed the sovereign power to speak for the British nation. [Source: Joseph Ellis]
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.27 The American Revolution:Third Quarter failure of central governance -- one of the stunning lessons Washington had learned was how ineffective American governing institutions were -- weak institutions could not properly supply the army, let alone pay them -- compare this to England. (leaves a big impression on W) -- had to order his men to steal cattle in New Jersey -- the currency was a joke “The Basic Dilemma” – During the early months of the war, the continental congress had assumed powers which rendered possible the creation of the continental army and Washington’s appointment to head it. But by behaving as a national legislature, the congress made itself vulnerable to the same criticism that the colonies had directed toward parliament itself. The central impulse of the American revolution had been a deep aversion to legislation, especially taxes, emanating from any consolidated government in a far away place beyond the direct control and supervision of the citizens affected. From the perspective of Virginia and Massachusetts, the delegates gathering in Philadelphia could not tax them any more than could the House of Commons in London. And since voting in the continental congress had always been by state – one state, one vote – it could not claim to fairly represent the American population as a whole. The articles of confederation, officially adopted in 1781, accurately embodied the same 1 vote principle. It never attempted to create a unified american nation, but rather a confederation of sovereign states. [Source: Joseph Ellis]
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.28 The American Revolution:Fourth Quarter Several things happen Washington’s reluctantly goes South -- he had wanted to bottle the Brits up in New York -- he needed the French navy, but they wouldn’t go along
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.29 The American Revolution:Fourth Quarter Several things happen Benedict Arnold -- Arnold traded sides and leads a British regiment into Virginia, the place he was supposed to be guarding
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.30 The American Revolution:Fourth Quarter Several things happen The Southern Campaign -- the Brits were initially successful in the south (Charleston, Camden) -- But Nathanial Green and the new fighting tactics began to work -- Turned Cornwallis north, toward Virginia we desperately need a picture ….
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.31 French Navy Turned Around Benedict Arnold Washington heads southBritish Stronghold Yorktown French Go North
3/12/2007 (C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.32 The American Revolution:Fourth Quarter we won? -- Britain decided that the war was too costly (it had no ending in site) -- central failure: not realizing the strategic center of the war. It was not a fort or territory, it was Washington’s army -- underestimated the psychology of the enemy (compare: Vietnam) --at that point the truth is that we did not defeat the British because we couldn’t have -- instead, we outlasted them In short, the Fabian strategy worked
What is it? -- Washington’s army generals were conspiring to march on Philadelphia and install him as the monarch -- There is no reason to think this would not have worked The Newburgh Conspiracy constitutional monarch?American Caesar?
What is it? The Newburgh Conspiracy think of how other revolutions ended: French Revolution = Napoleon English Revolution = Cromwell (for a while) Chinese = Mao Zedong Russia = Lenin Cuba = Castro
What is it? The Newburgh Conspiracy think of the public confidence Washington had: Cherry tree stories, etc. already had a cult of majesty surrounding him (Aragorn persona) -- also, monarchy was the only stable form of government around (with constitutional monarchy being state of the art)
What caused it? The Newburgh Conspiracy -- primarily, the troops getting stiffed -- they had suffered so much and received nothing -- the institutions were pathetically weak
Washington’s Speech The Newburgh Conspiracy -- Washington heard that his generals were “conspiring” -- He ordered them to appear at a meeting -- His speech
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.38 Washington’s Speech – “... but as I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common country, as I have never left your side one moment but when called from you on public duty, as i have been the constant companion and witness of your distress and not among the last to feel and acknowledge your merits, as I have ever considered my own military reputation inseparably connected with that of the army, as my heart has ever expanded with joy when I have heard its praises, and my indignation has arisen when the mouth of detraction has been opened against it, it can scarcely be supposed at this late stage of the war that I am indifferent to its interests. And let me conjure you in the name of our common country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the military and national character of America, to express your utmost horror and detestation of the man who wishes under any specious pretenses to overturn the liberties of our country, and who wickedly attempts to open the flood gates of civil discord and deluge our rising empire in blood.” [Source: Joseph Ellis]
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.39 Washington’s Speech – Ellis: he was telling people that he had control over his ambitions, and that his place in history would be enhanced not by enlarging his power, but by surrendering it. He was sufficiently self confident and secure with who he was to need anything further. He understood the core principle of republicanism: that all legitimate power arose from the consent of the governed. [Source: Joseph Ellis]
Washington’s Character The Newburgh Conspiracy -- Washington always deferred to civilian authority peace proposals troops being disciplined -- George III quote -- Question: how many other generals do you know that retire to the farm after the winning the war?
constitutional convention -- presides over the constitutional convention -- extremely important for purposes of legitimacy His Presidency
“elections” -- both terms are unanimous elections His Presidency
precedents: -- Gives the first inaugural address (not in the Constitution) His Presidency inaugural address
precedents: His Presidency -- Gives the State of the Union in person state of the union symbolic significance -- the King would always address Parliament in person (looks Kingly) (Jefferson would begin the practice of writing the address and mailing it to Congress. It would stay that way until.. )
precedents: -- surrounds himself with an all-star cast (Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay -- James Madison informally) -- note that if political parties were present, these people would be opposites His Presidency cabinet
precedents: -- not mentioned in the Constitution as an office -- formalized cabinet meetings start in the second term -- wouldn’t include Adams in the discussion because he thought that violated separation of powers (these are new institutions!) His Presidency cabinet
precedents: -- the constitution had set no term limit -- he steps down after two terms, which has the effect of setting a cultural precedent (not until FDR would this precedent be broken) (note: he would have quit after one term if it wasn’t for dissention in his cabinet -- political parties were starting to form) His Presidency two term rule
management style -- cabinet was to formulate proposals; he would decide -- just like he did out in the field of battle. His Presidency “great delegator”
management style -- believes in a very strict form of separation of powers -- doesn’t try to lobby Congress, kill bills, manipulate what they do, tell them what to pass, etc. (‘you do your business; I do mine’) His Presidency not a “chief legislator”
management style -- would only use it in an extreme case (a little context here: his “party” is in power and the institutions are new) His Presidency reluctant to use the veto
Indian treaty -- The Constitution says that presidents must have advice and consent of the Senate to approve Treaties -- Washington reads this literally. -- He takes a proposed Indian deal to Congress Ellis’ quote … His Presidency
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.52 Separation of Powers – Regarding his foreign treaty power, Washington in 1789 personally visited the senate to obtain advice and consulting about a treaty he was going to make with some Indians. He had to sit through two readings of the treaty, which took a long time in the noisy and boisterous senate, and he had to be grilled with questions, some embarrassing and probing. And he had to go through the embarrassment of having the thing concluded with a member of the senate referring the entire matter to a committee of the senate. He found the whole thing to be humiliating, and he then set the precedent of never again going personally to meet in the senate body to present and engage in the consideration of a treaty prior to its conclusion. In future years, it would not be the president, but his executive staff, or cabinet that would provide information and advice to the president about treaty matters. This is true not only of foreign policy but also of domestic policy. [Translation: don't directly use the senate as a consulting body; use your internal people]. [Source: Ellis]
Indian treaty -- this event establishes himself as the sole head of the executive branch His Presidency very important point: -- some people thought Congress would co-manage the executive branch (parliamentary logic) -- “advice and consent” means: “come to us first, not last” -- This establishes that the presidency submits its treaties to Congress after it is done – in essence, saying, “now get to work and approve it”
Proclamation of Neutrality -- declares that America is neutral between Britain and France (no favoritism) -- Not symbolic; he means that any action to the contrary is against law -- compare: King George III’s 1763 proclamation. (Idea: this is my sphere, I say what it is). (Note: one year later, Congress ratified the neutrality doctrine) His Presidency
Executive Privilege -- Jay’s treaty (wildly unpopular) -- Washington asked by Congress to hand over documents about the Treaty, including his instructions to Jay -- He refuses, saying they are private His Presidency
Whiskey Riots -- first and only time that the commander and chief actually leads troops in battle in the field His Presidency
All sorts of historic legislation -- Bill of Rights, creating finance capitalism in America (Hamilton’s financial plan, etc.), building a national judiciary, paying down the war debt, a strong economy, peace, etc. His Presidency
The National Tour His Presidency -- Joseph Ellis argues that this may have been the most important thing -- a tour of the colonies so they could see their new republican president in person Question: why is this such a big deal? Answer: There is no such thing as an “America” yet
The National Tour His Presidency -- he toured all the states -- important for establishing nationhood
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.60 You can’t do it – When he took the office, there was no such thing as viable American nation – only the hope of one. The colonists felt their primary allegiances to local, state and regional authorities. No republican Government had ever before exercised control over a population this diffuse or a land mass this large. The prevailing assumption among most European observers was that the nation could not endure. A French Nobile man observed, “it is less difficult to discover the northwest passage than to create a people, as you have done. [Source: Ellis]
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.61 National Tour – One of the things Washington did during his first two years in office was to visit every state. When he visited new England, the crowds and readers of newspapers for that day saw themselves as Americans – he was a political figure that was the personification of American government. Rhode Island had not yet ratified the constitution, so he skipped it, then made a special trip the next summer to welcome the proudly independent late-comer into the new nation. “Whatever sectional suspicions new Englanders might harbor toward that far away thing called the federal government, when it appeared in their local neighborhoods in the majestic form of George Washington, they saluted, cheered, toasted and embraced it as their own.” [Source: Ellis]
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.62 Manhattan – During a trip to Manhattan, over 30,000 people -- an enormous amount for that day and age -- gathered to see the new president. Whenever he would come into town, he was greeted with canon fire and parades. [Source: Ellis]
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.63 Southern Tour – The southern tour was more grueling, covering nearly 2000 miles in the spring of 1791. He always road his white horse at the edge of each town in order to make a heroic entrance. Washington usually brought along his favorite greyhound, named Cornwallis. Cornwallis wore out on the tour, and was buried. [Source: Ellis]
the economics of Mt. Vernon -- After the war, Washington’s Mount Vernon estate was losing money Race and Slavery crop diversification He doesn’t need very many slaves He had too many as it was He was against selling slaves because it broke up families He couldn’t just emancipate them because of the “Martha” problem. Ellis’ quotes …
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.65 Caring for the Labor Community An English farmer, James Bloxum, whom he hired in 1786 to improve techniques of cultivation, claimed that the soil around Mount Vernon was one obstacle, but that the lackadaisical work force was the major liability. The youngest slaves were seldom assigned chores, “for at present to skulk from house to house under some frivolous pretense or another seems to be the principal employment of most of them.” This would not have happened under the pre-war master of Mount Vernon. Washington realized that much of what he grew on his farms would never reach the marketplace but would be consumed on the grounds by his laborers and their families. Washington chose to make the maintenance of slave families at Mount Vernon a higher priority than making a profit. He saw this as the moral thing to do. [source: Joseph Ellis]
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.66 Mount Vernon Is Losing Money This is probably the time when he began thinking about freeing his slaves in his will. “He accepted grudgingly that Mount Vernon would never show a profit because it had become a retirement home and child care center for many of his slave residents, whom he was morally obliged to care for.” In 1787, he had admitted that Mount Vernon had run a deficit for the past 11 yrs. The following year, he reported that his annual losses caused him “to feel more sensibly the want of money than I have ever done at any period of my life.” [source: Joseph Ellis]
3/12/2007(C) Copyright Sean Wilson. 2007.67 Slave Labor – Crop Diversification Ellis: the decision to abandon slaves as a labor force followed logically from his decision to abandon tobacco as a cash crop in favor of wheat. Once he made that decision, his farms resembled the diversified farms of Pennsylvania more than the plantations of the tidewater or Carolinas. The cost of maintaining a slave labor force became prohibitively expensive. In fact, he owned more slaves than he could productively employ. Mt. Vernon only made a marginal profit before the war, and during the war it began to resemble those many plantations that were declining toward bankruptcy.
the last will and testament Race and Slavery He emancipates his laboring community after the death of Martha He leaves the community an inheritance that is enough for generations to live comfortably
attitudes about race Race and Slavery had started to change during Valley Forge never supported a “repatriation program.” did not subscribe to the inferiority theory (believed the institution of slavery corrupted development) compare this with Jefferson, who grew up in the exact same Virginia plantation-culture if time permits, tell the story of Hercules.