The historiography of george washington submitted to dr. Roberts historical methods and interpretaton



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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

THE HISTORIOGRAPHY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON

SUBMITTED TO DR. ROBERTS

HISTORICAL METHODS AND INTERPRETATON

BY:

LINDSAY POLING



MAY 7, 2014

The historiography of George Washington covers a vast amount of topics including Washington’s early life, his public life and career, his religion, and slavery. The early histories of George Washington consisted of writings about his command of the Revolutionary army and his presidency. As progressives and social historians became prominent in the early twentieth century, the writings on Washington introduced topics such as his business affairs, his viewpoints on slavery, religion, and even his love affairs. For every work mentioned on Washington though, the historian tries to find the answers as to his character. During the early nineteenth century with literary Romantic writers, Washington was characterized as an idol for the American people. The character of Washington, because he is put on such high esteem, has fascinated the progressive, revisionist, postmodernist, and social historians. This essay covers how each historian focuses on Washington’s character based on certain themes such as his career as a military commander, a public figure, or from his private life.

The works on Washington include fictionist stories, popular histories, and multiple books written each decade. The major works on Washington seek answers for who he really was by defining his characteristics as a leader and his personal qualities. Before the Civil War started, close to sixty-five books were written about him each decade. After the Civil War ended in 1865, the amount of books decreased to almost thirty or forty per decade about Washington.1 George Washington, through many interpretations, has an iconic image in American history. The perception about Washington changes for each historian, but there are still those questions as to Washington’s character.

Throughout the nineteenth century, many works have been published on the life of George Washington. The first early histories were written by men, such as Washington Irving, John Marshall, and David Humphreys who saw and worked with Washington during and after his presidency. The first biographies written about Washington trace the majority of his life. These biographies trace his early life, his military career during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, and his work as the first president. During the early nineteenth Century, the literary movement known as Romanticism shaped early American history. Romantic writings promoted an image of Washington as a heroic figure during the American Revolution and as president.

In James K. Paulding’s work The Life of Washington, written in 1835, the characterization of Washington consists of virtue and honesty. As he used his background in literary writing, Paulding thought of himself as a promoter of Romantic works through the language rather than complete historical accuracy. He sources Washington’s private life and his habits. As Paulding wrote, “he becomes the great landmark of his country, the pillar on which is recorded her claim to an equality with the illustrious nations of the world; the example to all succeeding generations: and there is no trait which so strongly marks a degenerate race as an indifference to his fame and his virtues.”2 As Paulding stated, he wanted to “impress deeply the virtues and services of the Father of his Country.”3

Compared to Washington Irving, who wrote five volumes on the life of George Washington, Irving considered Washington his idol, and was a child around the death of Washington in 1799. Irving’s volumes written from 1850-1855, promote Romantic literature, and also Irving writes he is “pro-Washington,” according to Kenneth Coleman.4 As stated by Irving, “I am obliged to take glances over collateral history as seen from his transactions apparently disconnected with his concerns but eventually bearing upon the great drama in which he was the principal actor.”5

Whereas, one of the leading works written in the late 1700’s, by Parson Weems provided many anecdotes which characterized George Washington, such as the story of Washington cutting down the cherry tree. Written in The Life of George Washington: With Curious Anecdotes, Equally Honourable to Himself, and Exemplary to His Young Countrymen, Weems characterized Washington as a heroic god, which is apart of the leading Romantic literary movement. According to Christopher Harris, “Weems transformed Washington from a Moses figure to a secular icon in American life.”6 The significance of Weems’s book, provided with his anecdotes, developed the stories and myths of Washington’s character. Weems wrote the book in order to entertain certain readers with a literary and interesting work.7 Weems’s work remains significant due to the fact that many historians seek to disclaim Weems stories and anecdotes. John Marshall’s early history of Washington focused on the chronological events of Washington’s life, particularly in the American Revolution and as president.

John Marshall, Chief Justice during the early 1800’s, wrote The Life of Washington. He wrote five volumes on the life of Washington, mostly through his military career and as president, in 1807. By 1838, a condensed work of his volumes was published for educational purposes. Marshall’s biography represents the only account written by a Founding father who interacted with Washington at the end of his life. Using mostly sources from the Department of State, including government records, Marshall’s biography, as Robert Faulkner states, “was the first serious biography.”8 Marshall’s work includes maps of the major campaigns of the Revolution, and includes Washington’s speeches such as his First Inaugural Address and his Farewell Address in 1796.9

Another early Romantic history that documents Washington’s life was David Humphreys’s Life of George Washington. Humphreys’s account focused on Washington’s career as a military commander, in which Humphreys participated in the American Revolution as one of Washington’s support. Humphreys’s biography of Washington consists of two manuscripts and Washington’s remarks.10 His biography, in some aspects like John Marshall’s, accompanies factual evidence rather than a complete literary work. As stated, many works were published on George Washington before the start of the Civil War, including David Ramsay’s The Life of George Washington written in 1807 and Jared Sparks The Life of George Washington written in 1839. All of these works, including Marshall, Mason Weems, and David Humphreys represent the first biographies of Washington and the Romantic movement of the early 1800’s.

After the end of the Civil War, the amount of works on George Washington decreased significantly. The leading biographers after the Civil War leading into the early twentieth century shifted from the image created by the Romantic authors. The character of George Washington shifted from the myths to a focus on the real George Washington. An example was Henry Cabot Lodge’s work on Washington. In Lodge’s work, written in 1889 called George Washington, Lodge focuses on three prominent times in Washington’s life. The first is on Washington as a military commander, the second part looks at Washington after the American Revolution and his contributions to the Constitution, and third his presidency. According to Paul Leicester Ford, Lodge has written a refreshing biography of the life of Washington, but he still wrote under the literary concepts of the Romantic writers.11 Lodge’s work uses Weems adaption of Washington as a heroic, and “mythical character.”12 Although, Lodge’s volumes of Washington depict this image, he does focus more on historical accuracy and the true character of Washington. According to Worthington Ford, Lodge’s work is a well-written biography that accompanies a focus on Washington’s character and the use of historical evidence. As Ford stated, “Mr. Lodge has given us a man of heroic proportions, instinct with life and action, prescient and of quick grasp and comprehension.”13

As the Progressive school of thought developed in the late 1800’s, new works on the life of Washington emerged from the Progressive movement. Outside of the Romantic Movement, many historians sought to write about Washington’s life and character in an accurate manner using the availability of historical sources. Paul Leicester Ford’s biography of Washington, called The True George Washington, written in 1896 focuses on “humanizing” George Washington.14 Ford’s biography examines a variety of topics such as Washington’s family life, his physique, his personal relationships, religious beliefs, social life, and his wealth. He uses mostly quotes by Washington for primary evidence, and shifts away from the literary writings of the Romantic authors. Ford wrote, “By a slow evolution we have well-nigh discarded from the lives of our greatest men of the past all human faults and feelings; have enclosed their greatness in glass of the clearest crystal, and hung up a sign ‘Do not touch.’15 Ford shifts from this notion of “do not touch” and instead provides a balanced biography within the historiography of Washington.

Woodrow Wilson’s biography George Washington, written in 1896, represents Washington as Wilson’s hero. Wilson, influenced by the earlier Romantics, portrays Washington as someone he admires. Woodrow Wilson investigates Washington’s business affairs, Mt. Vernon, and his career as commander of the army during the Revolutionary War.16 According to Wilson, Washington’s heroic achievements were mastered during the Revolutionary War. Wilson also focuses on Washington’s presidency and his neutrality during the European wars.17 Wilson does not use any new primary resource materials, but he writes a revitalizing biography for the life and character of Washington.

The Progressive school of thought lasted from the late 1800’s until the end of the Second World War. Progressives developed the notion of “progress” in American history. The Progressives embraced new concepts such as economics and social life. A famous American Progressive was Charles A. Beard, who wrote An Economic Interpretation of the United States, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States and The Presidents of American History. Beard emphasized a new perspective on American capitalism and “historical truth.”18 As progressives issued outlooks on economics and historical accuracy, historians such as Eugene Prussing, focused their arguments towards Washington as a Virginian and businessman.

Eugene E. Prussing’s work on George Washington included The Estate of George Washington, Deceased and George Washington: In Love and Otherwise. In The Estate of George Washington, Deceased, Prussing focuses on Washington from the business perspective. Prussing, who worked as a lawyer, presents Washington as an administrator by examining Washington’s will. Prussing claims, according to C.S. Boucher, that Washington was a capable administrator with his properties.19 Prussing uses records and historical materials to observe Washington by his business skills. Another article he wrote was “Washington: Captain of Industry.”20 Washington’s character is developed based on his achievements as a financer, as an investor, and as a capitalist. This perspective looks at Washington as an owner of immense wealth and property, which contributed to the relationships within the family and his fellow citizens.

The consensus school of thought, developed after the end of the Second World War, initiated a regained focus on Washington based on the nationalistic movement after the war. In the consensus school of thought, historians developed ideas from the American sense of exceptionalism, and a prime example is Edmund S. Morgan’s The Genius of George Washington. Morgan argues Washington’s genius developed by his power and how he used it.21 As a public figure, Washington distanced himself from others, and through his power he created a strong American government throughout his presidency.22 Morgan mostly looks at Washington as commander of the Continental Army. Morgan does not use any new information about Washington, but he uses letters as primary documentation and he added another perspective on Washington based on the power.

The second work within the consensus school of thought by Marcus Cunliffe called George Washington: Man and Monument, focuses on the “humanizing” of George Washington like Ford’s work. He wants to present Washington as not just the “Copybook Hero”, but to admit his downfalls. He used the primary documents, but he wanted to shift from this notion used by Parson Weems and the Romantic writers. The purpose of Cunliffe’s work was to create the humanized Washington through history. As stated by Cunliffe, “in his own eyes, history happened to him, not the other way round. He did what he could.”23

In Douglas Freeman’s, Washington: A Life, written from 1948 to 1957, the main objective was to show the “vivid sense of character” of Washington.24 Freeman writes on Washington’s leadership qualities during the American Revolution, and critiques Washington’s skills militarily. Freeman adds a new perspective for the overall personality of Washington because he explains the roles Washington took as a leader, and how it changed him into a “man of honor.”25

James Thomas Flexner’s biography of Washington called The Indispensable Man written in 1974, focuses on the career and character of Washington. He also wrote George Washington and the New Nation, 1783-1793 in 1969. Compared to Freeman’s work, Flexner devotes this notion of realism as he chronicles the failures and successes of Washington. Flexner mostly writes about Washington during the Revolutionary War. Also, he devotes part of his work to Washington and slavery, which was a prominent theme for new social historians and postmodernists after the 1960’s. Basically, Flexner states Washington’s views on slavery are contradictory, but he was the only Founding Father to free his slaves.26 Also, Flexner deliberately states no work on Washington can possibly escape the myths and folklore about Washington.

Other contributors for the consensus school of thought include Bernard Bailyn, Gordon S. Wood, and John R. Alden. Bernard Bailyn’s main work for the American Revolution was called the Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Gordon S. Wood has written about whether the American Revolution was a radical or conservative start for war, which he wrote Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, which contributed to the historiography of the Federal Era. John R. Alden wrote A History of the American Revolution and George Washington: A Biography. In Alden’s biography of Washington, he explores Washington’s early life in the military, and his youth. Alden creates a balanced interpretation as he examines Washington’s weaknesses and strengths.27 Within the historiography of Washington, as Alden states, Washington’s character demands careful interpretation.

As new social history emerged after the 1960’s, the focus shifted towards studies of minority groups, which included subjects such as slavery and Native Americans. As this shift of social historians emerged, the amount of work on George Washington moved to subjects such as Washington’s personal affairs, and his views on slavery. Written in Henry Wiencek’s An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America, Wiencek characterizes Washington according to his views on slavery. Wiencek’s work uses Washington’s personal journals as evidence for his commitment to the institution of slavery. His study shows objectivity because he promotes the idea that if Washington had acted on his convictions about slavery in his lifetime the effects for the institution may have been profound.28 Washington’s character from this work was displayed by his views on slavery.

Fritz Hirschfeld, in George Washington and Slavery: A Documentary Portrayal, writes about Washington’s views on slavery. Hirschfeld explores Washington’s actions as a slaveholder, as well as, his efforts as the president towards antislavery and proslavery. Hirschfeld’s work uses many primary documents such as letters, diaries, and newspapers. Washington’s views on slavery changed from before the American Revolution and after the American Revolution. Hirschfeld considers Washington’s public life and his reputation as a slaveholder. The main argument for Hirschfeld’s book displays that Washington remained neutral on slavery throughout his life.29 Hirschfeld’s work examines slavery at Mt. Vernon, and personalities such as The Marquis de Lafayette and John Laurens. As Hirschfeld writes the role of George Washington “played in helping to mold the racist cast of the new nation.”30

Another contributor to the new social history is Barry Schwartz. Schwartz, who worked as a sociologist, has contributed many works on George Washington. The first is George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol. He has also written articles such as “Social Change and Collective Memory: The Democratization of George Washington” and “The Character of Washington: A Study in Republican Culture.” In Schwartz’s book, he examines how Washington was so highly esteemed. His argument considers the facts that Washington did not have a formal education and his personality traits, such as his quietness. While embodying Washington, Schwartz uses the social standards of Americans to contribute to Washington’s character. His work displays Washington through the private and public sphere, but he still contributed to the learning of Washington’s true character.31

Another sociologist, like Barry Schwartz, Seymour Martin Lipset wrote “George Washington and the Founding of Democracy.” Lipset creates a positive outlook on Washington, and contributes him as the most important man in American history. Lipset writes on the importance of Washington in fighting the American Revolution. Also, Lipset shows the importance of Washington and his establishment of a democracy. He uses points such as unity, commitment to constitutional government, and his reputation to show how Washington contributed as a public figure to the formation of the new nation.32

The postmodernist school of thought emerged after the 1960’s, and began to use marginalized subjects for certain agendas such as slaves and Native Americans. Postmodernists shifted from this view of the “elite white males” to studying certain subjects with an agenda. A recent biography on Washington, written in 2004, by Joseph Ellis called George Washington: His Excellency exemplifies the postmodernist school of thought. Ellis shifts from this original conception of Washington’s character to his own portrait of Washington’s character. As Ellis describes Parson Weems work on Washington, he states he wants to move “from Parson Weem’s fabrications about a saintly lad who could not tell a lie to dismissive verdicts about the deadest, whitest male in American history.”33 Joseph Ellis makes slavery the central concern, but also he writes on subjects such as Washington’s interactions with Native Americans and his love affairs before his marriage to Martha Washington.34 Ellis’s work focuses tightly on the issue of slavery, as Ellis writes from as a liberal postmodernist school of thought.

Another prominent article on the issues of Washington and slavery is an article written by Kenneth Morgan called “George Washington and the Problem of Slavery.” Kenneth Morgan writes on the issues of Washington’s views on slavery throughout his lifetime. Washington’s views shifted from before the American Revolution and after the war ended. He makes points on Washington’s inheritance, how Washington used his slaves because he argued “one man’s dilemma in dealing with the morality of his own slaveholding was mirrored in the broader context of what the United States could or would do about the problem of slavery.”35

Another work, which provides a postmodernist viewpoint, is Peter R. Henriques Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington written in 2006. Henriques examines Washington’s character, as he states in the preface “Washington’s personality is the most striking and most commonly overlooked aspect of the common man.”36 According to Todd Estes, Henriques contributes Washington as “wise man” and “bends over backwards” to show Washington as a slaveholder, and his love affair with Sally Fairfax.37

As the historiography of George Washington continues to expand, there are several works that would fall into a synthetic school of thought. These works contribute to the overall portrayal of Washington, and make a significant contribution, both positive and negative, to the vast topics on Washington.

W.E. Woodward’s George Washington: The Image and the Man, written in 1926, creates a falsified image of George Washington’s character. Compared to Woodrow Wilson’s George Washington, Woodward looks at more of the Western background rather than Washington as a Virginian. Woodward’s biography shifts from the views of the Romantics, but his biography does not contribute necessarily to the overall understanding of Washington’s character and life. According to Albert Brushnell Hart, Woodward’s biography has too many controversies, and his questions of historical accuracy that does not add any “significant contribution to our knowledge of George Washington.”38

Rupert Hughes, in George Washington: The Human Being and the Hero 1732-1762, urges this shift from Parson Weem’s portrayal of George Washington. Hughes uses Washington’s writings, and develops his work on Washington’s early years. Hughes writes on themes such as Washington’s early military career, his interactions, and his potential love affair particularly with Sally Fairfax. According to Ralph Harlow, Rupert Hughes contributes to this shift from the “Weems-complex” and focuses on a “novelty of love or biography.”39

In Paul K. Longmore’s The Invention of George Washington, Longmore shifts away from the “myths” of George Washington, as he contributes the work to Washington’s role in creating his highly esteemed image. Longmore considers Washington’s personality and how it led him through the Revolution, and how his views changed as a politician. Paul Longmore gives Washington credit for being an able military commander and statesman.40

Written in 1980 by Charles Cecil Wall, George Washington, Citizen-Soldier contributes to the social context of Washington because Wall examines George Washington from the perspective of his life at Mount Vernon. He details sources mostly used by Washington’s correspondence during the American Revolution.41

Ron Chernow’s work called Washington: A Life represents a synthetic work within the historiography of Washington. Winning the Pulitzer Prize, Chernow represents Washington’s private life, his role in the military, and as president in a one-volume work. Chernow provides a biography that represents Washington’s strengths and weaknesses. Chernow writes of Washington as a “real human being” while examining subjects such as slavery, and his accomplishments during the Revolutionary War and as president.42

Another balanced work written by Don Higginbotham, called George Washington: Uniting a Nation, published in 2002, argues that George Washington was the most significant figure for the Revolution and the new nation. Higginbotham also wrote George Washington: Reconsidered. Higginbotham uses mostly Washington’s writings, but does not develop any new historical research. He claims that Washington was a forceful person, and that only a “skillful, trustworthy leader like Washington could have ensured that Americans would accept both the Constitution and the nationalizing measures of the 1790’s.”43 Higginbotham addresses Washington’s significance as a great man and the roles he took during his lifetime.

The historiography of Washington continues to expand and challenge by historians. Washington’s portrayals continue to change based on interpretations. The personality and character of Washington creates a stir of curiosity among writers. As more historical evidence becomes available, including Washington’s Papers, there is an endless task of discovering the true character of George Washington. His achievements cannot be denied, as historians such as Marcus Cunliffe and Thomas Flexner, write about in their claims of “humanizing” the image of Washington.

Bibliography

Book Reviews

Boucher, C.S. Review of The Estate of George Washington, Deceased, written by Eugene E. Prussing. The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 14, no. 4 (March 1928): 539.

Brown, Robert E. Review of George Washington: The Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner. The American Historical Review 81, no. 3 (June 1976): 655.  

Coleman, Kenneth. Review of George Washington: A Biography, written by Washington Irving. The Georgia Historical Quarterly 60, no. 3 (Fall 1976): 293-294.

Estes, Todd. Review of Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, written by Richard Brookhiser. The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 95, no. 2 (Spring 1997): 186-187.

Estes, Todd. Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington, written by Peter R. Henriques. The Journal of American History 93, no. 4 (March 2007): 1217-1218.

Ferling, John E. Review of George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol, written by Barry Schwartz. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 112, no. 4 (October 1988): 639-640.

Greene, Jack P. Review of The Genius of George Washington by Edmund S. Morgan. The North Carolina Historical Review 58, no. 4 (October 1981): 398-399.  

Harlow, Ralph Volney. Review of The Human Being and the Hero, 1732-1762, written by Rupert Hughes. Political Science Quarterly 42, no. 2 (June 1927): 281-284.

Hart, Albert Bushnell. Review of George Washington, the Image and the Man, written by W. E. Woodward. Political Science Quarterly 42, no. 2 (June 1927): 277-281.

Hay, Robert P. Review of The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, written by John E. Ferling. The American Historical Review 95, no. 2 (April 1990): 582-583.

Henry, William Wirt. Review of George Washington and The True George Washington, written by Woodrow Wilson and Paul Leicester Ford. The American Historical Review 2, no. 3 (April 1897): 539-545.

Higginbotham, Don. Review of The Genius of George Washington, written by Edmund S. Morgan. The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 89, no. 3 (July 1981): 370-371.

Kaminski, John P. Review of Life of George Washington, by David Humphreys. The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 100, no. 2 (April 1992): 267-269.

Knollenberg, Bernhard. Review of George Washington: Man and Monument, written by Marcus Cunliffe. The William and Mary Quarterly 15, no. 4 (October 1958): 525-527.

Land, Aubrey C. Review of George Washington: A Biography, written by John R. Alden. The Florida Historical Quarterly 64, no. 2 (October 1985): 199-201.

Leonard, Edward F. Review of George Washington and Religion by Paul F. Boller. The Catholic Historical Review 49, no. 4 (January, 1964): 588-589.

Miller, Randall M. Review of George Washington and Slavery: A Documentary Portrayal, written by Fritz Hirschfeld. The Georgia Historical Quarterly 82, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 418-420.

Schmidt, Frederick H. Review of George Washington: Citizen-Soldier, written by Charles Cecil Wall. Journal of the Early Republic 2, no. 2 (Summer 1982): 197-198.

Slaughter, Thomas P. Review of The Invention of George Washington, written by Paul K. Longmore. The American Historical Review 95, no. 3 (June 1990): 904-905.

Snapp, Russell J. Review of George Washington: Uniting a Nation, written by Don Higginbotham. The North Carolina Historical Review 80, no. 3 (July 2003): 376.

Secondary Sources

Articles

Lipset, Seymour Martin. “George Washington and the Founding of Democracy.” Journal of Democracy 9, no. 4 (October 1998): 24-38.
Harris, Christopher. “Mason Locke Weem’s Life of Washington: The Making of a Bestseller.” The Southern Literary Journal 19, no. 2 (Spring 1987): 92-101.

Meigs, Cornelia, Perry Miller, and Bernhard Knollenberg. “Freeman’s Washington: A Triple Evaluation.” The William and Mary Quarterly 9, no. 2 (April 1952): 221-238.  

Morgan, Kenneth. “George Washington and the Problem of Slavery.” Journal of American Studies 34, no. 2 (August 2000): 279-301.

Schwartz, Barry. “George Washington and the Whig Conception of Heroic Leadership.” American Sociological Review 48, no. 1 (February 1983): 18-33.

Schwartz, Barry. “Social Change and Collective Memory: The Democratization of George Washington.” American Sociological Review 56, no. 2 (April 1991): 222-236.

Books


Chernow, Ron. Washington: A Life. New York: Penguin Press, 2010.

Cuncliffe, Marcus. George Washington: Man and Monument. Boston: Little Brown & Company, 1958.

Deconde, Alexander. Entangling Alliance: Politics and Diplomacy under George Washington. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1958.

Ellis, Joseph J. George Washington: His Excellency. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.

Flexner, James Thomas. Washington: The Indispensable Man. New York: Little Brown & Company, 1969.

Ford, Paul Leicester. The True George Washington. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, 1896.  

Freeman, Douglas A. Washington: A Life (7 Vols). New York: Charles Scribners’ Sons, 1948-1957.

Henriques, Peter R. Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2006.


Higginbotham, Don. George Washington: Uniting a Nation. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002.

Hirschfeld, Fritz. George Washington and Slavery: A Documentary Portrayal. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1997.

Humphreys, David. “Life of General Washington” with George Washington’s “Remarks.” Edited by Rosemarie Zagarri. London and Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991.

Irving, Washington. George Washington: A Biography. Edited by Charles Neider. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1976.

Lillback, Peter A. and Jerry Newcombe. George Washington’s Sacred Fire. Providence, R.I.: Providence Foreign Press, 2006.

Longmore, Paul K. The Invention of George Washington. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988.

Marshall, John. The Life of George Washington. Edited by Robert Faulkner and Paul Carrese. Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 2000.

Morgan, Edmund S. The Genius of George Washington. New York: WW Norton & Company, 1980.

Paulding, James K. The Life of George Washington. Aberdeen: George Clark & Son, 1835.

Prussing, Eugene A. The Estate of George Washington, Deceased. Chicago, IL: Eugene Ernest Publishing, 1927.

Tulis, Jeffrey. The Rhetorical Presidency. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1987.

Wall, Charles Cecil. George Washington: Citizen-Soldier. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1980.

Weems, Parson Locke. The Life of George Washington: With Curious Anecdotes, Equally Honourable to Himself, and Exemplary to His Young Countrymen. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Company, 1805.

Wienick, Henry. An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America. New York: Firrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2003.

Wilson, Woodrow. George Washington. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1896.

Wood, Gordon S. Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.




1 Barry Schwartz, “Social Change and Collective Memory: The Democratization of George Washington,” American Sociological Review 56, no. 2 (April 1991): 222.


2 James K. Paulding, The Life of George Washington, (Aberdeen: George Clark & Son, 1835), vi.

3 James K. Paulding, The Life of George Washington, vii.

 Paulding, vii.

4 Kenneth Coleman, Review of George Washington: A Biography, written by Washington Irving, The Georgia Historical Quarterly 60, no. 3 (Fall 1976): 293.

5 Washington Irving, George Washington: A Biography, Edited by Charles Neider, (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1976), 4.

6 Christopher Harris, “Mason Locke Weem’s Life of Washington: The Making of a Bestseller,” The Southern Literary Journal 19, no. 2 (Spring 1987), 92.

7 Christopher Harris, “The Making of a Bestseller,” 93.

8 John Marshall, The Life of George Washington, Edited by Robert Faulkner and Paul Carrese, (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, 2000), xi.

9 John Marshall, The Life of George Washington, 472.

10 John P. Kaminski and Rosemarie Zagarri, Review of Life of George Washington with George Washington’s Remarks, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 100, no. 2 (April 1992): 267.

11 Worthington Chauncey Ford, review of George Washington, written by Henry Cabot Lodge, Political Science Quarterly 4, no. 4 (December 1889): 668.

12 Worthington Chauncey Ford, review of George Washington, 670.

13 Ford, review of George Washington, 670.

14 William Wirt Henry, Review on The True George Washington, written by Paul Leicester Ford The American Historical Review 2, no. 3 (April 1897): 544.

15 Paul Leicester Ford, The True George Washington, (Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, 1896), 1.

16 Woodrow Wilson, George Washington, (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1896).

17 William Wirt Henry, Review on George Washington, written by Woodrow Wilson The American Historical Review 2, no. 3 (April 1897): 543.

18 Caroline Hoefferle, et. al., The Essential Historiography Reader (New Jersey: Pearson, 2011), 117.

19 C.S. Boucher, The Estate of George Washington, Deceased, written by Eugene E. Prussing, The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 14, no. 4 (March 1928): 539.

20 Eugene A. Prussing, The Estate of George Washington, Deceased (Chicago, IL: Eugene Ernest Publishing, 1927).

21 Don Higginbotham, Review of The Genius of George Washington, written by Edmund S. Morgan The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 89, no. 3 (July 1981): 370.

22 Edmund S. Morgan, The Genuis of George Washington, (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1980).

23 Marcus Cunliffe, George Washington: Man and Monument, (Boston: Little Brown & Company), 24.

24 Cornelia Meigs et. al., “Freeman’s Washington: A Triple Evaluation,” The William and Mary Quarterly 9, no. 2 (April 1952): 222.

25 Cornelia Meigs, “Freeman’s Washington,” 222-223.

26 Robert E. Brown, Review of George Washington: The Indispensable Man, written by James Thomas Flexner The American Historical Review 81, no. 3 (June 1976): 655.  

27 Aubrey C. Land, Review of George Washington: A Biography, written by John R. Alden, The Florida Historical Quarterly 64, no. 2 (October 1985): 199.

28 Henry Wiencek, An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America, (New York: Firrar, Strauss, & Giroux, 2003), 4.

29 Miller, Randall M. Review of George Washington and Slavery: A Documentary Portrayal, written by Fritz Hirshfeld. The Georgia Historical Quarterly 82, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 418-420.

30 Hirschfeld, Fritz. George Washington and Slavery: A Documentary Portrayal. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1997.

31 Ferling, John E. George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol, written by Barry Schwartz. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 112, no. 4 (October 1988): 639-640.

32 Seymour Martin Lipset, “George Washington and the Founding of Democracy,” Journal of Democracy 9, no. 4 (October 1998): 38.

33 Joseph J. Ellis, George Washington: His Excellency, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xii.

34 R. William Weisberger, Review on His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis Pennsylvania History 73, no. 2 (Spring 2006): 268.

35 Kenneth Morgan, “George Washington and the Problem of Slavery,” Journal of American Studies 34, no. 2 (August 2000): 280.

36 Peter R. Henriques, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2006), x.

37 Todd Estes, Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington, written by Peter R. Henriques The Journal of American History 93, no. 4 (March 2007): 1217.

38 Albert Bushnell Hart, Review of George Washington, the Image and the Man, written by W. E. Woodward, Political Science Quarterly 42, no. 2 (June 1927): 277.

39 Ralph V. Harlow, Review of The Human Being and the Hero, 1732-1762, written by Rupert Hughes, Political Science Quarterly 42, no. 2 (June 1927): 232.

40 Thomas P. Slaughter, Review of The Invention of George Washington, written by Paul K. Longmore The American Historical Review 95, no. 3 (June 1990): 905.

41 Schmidt, Frederick H. Review of George Washington: Citizen-Soldier, written by Charles Cecil Wall Journal of the Early Republic 2, no. 2 (Summer 1982): 197.

42 Philander Chase, Review on Washington: A Life, written by Ron Chernow Journal of American History 98, no. 2 (September 2011): 509.

43 Snapp, Russell J. Review of George Washington: Uniting a Nation, written by Don Higginbotham. The North Carolina Historical Review 80, no. 3 (July 2003): 376.


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