The Revolutionary Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1776 to 1800

By Carol Sue Humphrey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

General George Washington, 1776–1783

George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental army on June 15, 1775. He had previously gained some military renown during the French and Indian War, particularly for his service with the British under the command of General Edward Braddock. Washington was one of the few colonials with active duty military experience with the British army, which was one of the main reasons Congress turned to him to command the Continental army.

Washington was idolized by many colonial Americans almost from the moment he was appointed. Wherever he went, he was toasted and dined and applauded for his wisdom and leadership in the Revolutionary War effort. His birthday quickly became a time for public celebrations all over the country.

Washington took his role as commander in chief seriously. He fretted about whether he was up to the challenge or not. He worried when his men suffered because of lack of supplies, and he continually urged the Continental Congress to make the army more capable of success by properly supplying them.

But Washington’s worries did not translate into threats of a military takeover. Most Americans perceived George Washington to be an honorable man, and this proved to be true. He always followed the orders of the civilian government, even when they ordered him to defend Philadelphia in a battle he knew he could not win. Washington became revered during his service as commander in chief because he worked so hard to make American independence a reality. To many people, he seemed to be almost perfect.

The good opinions of George Washington are expressed in several selections here. First is an essay that praises his bravery and urges Americans to follow his good leadership. The essay is followed by an acrostic poem that praises his wise leadership and declares that it was God’s blessing and prov-

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The Revolutionary Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1776 to 1800
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chronology of Events xix
  • Chapter 1 1
  • Chapter 2 33
  • Chapter 3 49
  • Chapter 4 67
  • Note 79
  • Chapter 5 81
  • Chapter 6 93
  • Chapter 7 105
  • Chapter 8 119
  • Chapter 9 127
  • Chapter 10 137
  • Chapter 11 161
  • Chapter 12 181
  • Chapter 13 189
  • Chapter 14 201
  • Note 210
  • Chapter 15 211
  • Chapter 16 223
  • Chapter 17 233
  • Chapter 18 243
  • Chapter 19 253
  • Chapter 20 263
  • Chapter 21 277
  • Chapter 22 295
  • Chapter 23 303
  • Chapter 24 313
  • Chapter 25 323
  • Notes 335
  • Chapter 26 337
  • Selected Bibliography 349
  • Index 353
  • About the Author 359
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