Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Project Launched

Whether your political views skew to the Left, the Right, or the Middle, it should be agreed upon that our nation is at a crossroads. However, we must look to the past in order to move confidently forward. With that in mind, I embark upon my quest into discovering the roots of America. I plan to read a biography on every one of our Presidents, peppered with a few biographies of other leading figures (how can you NOT read about Benjamin Franklin?), as well as defining moments in American history .
I have started by reading a biography of George Washington. Maybe not a unique starting position, but an obvious one. The biography I chose was "Washington: The Indispensable Man" by James Thomas Flexner. I'm only four chapters into it, but I have already learned so much about the man who became the "Father of our Country." I learned that he started out as a horrible commander. Washington had an innate understanding of critical nodes and junctures and that the current battle practices were inadequate and antiquated for battles raging in the New World. He resented the notion of the time that only those of blue-blooded origins, of which he had none, should serve in posts of command. In his regiment, promotion was awarded on merit! This is a practice that is sustained in our fighting forces today.
Although he understood he lacked the knowledge or experience to serve in the appointed posts, he failed to understand when he should keep his mouth shut and trust in those more experienced and knowledgeable in matters of strategy and war. One such event was the push to disengage the French from Fort Duquesne. Brigadier General John Forbes' strategy was to wait; to cut the French off from their supplies and their friends (the Indians). Washington riled against this strategy in the impetuousness of youth, thinking it too slow. However, he was amazed when, the regiment finally reached the fort, they pushed the French out without so much as a single shot fired.

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