Inventing George Washington: America's Founder, in Myth and Memory
An entertaining and erudite history that offers a fresh look at America's first founding father, the creation of his legend, and what it means for our nation and ourselvesGeorge Washington's death on December 14, 1799, dealt a dreadful blow to public morale. For three decades, Americans had... show more
An entertaining and erudite history that offers a fresh look at America's first founding father, the creation of his legend, and what it means for our nation and ourselvesGeorge Washington's death on December 14, 1799, dealt a dreadful blow to public morale. For three decades, Americans had depended on his leadership to guide them through every trial. At the cusp of a new century, the fledgling nation, caught in another war (this time with its former ally France), desperately needed to believe that Washington was—and would continue to be—there for them.Thus began the extraordinary immortalization of this towering historical figure. In Inventing George Washington, historian Edward G. Lengel shows how the late president and war hero continued to serve his nation on two distinct levels. The public Washington evolved into an eternal symbol as Father of His Country, while the private man remained at the periphery of the national vision—always just out of reach—for successive generations yearning to know him as never before.Both images, public and private, were vital to perceptions Americans had of their nation and themselves. Yet over time, as Lengel shows, the contrasting and simultaneous urges to deify Washington and to understand him as a man have produced tensions that have played out in every generation. As some exalted him, others sought to bring him down to earth, creating a series of competing mythologies that depicted Washington as every sort of human being imaginable. Inventing George Washington explores these representations, shedding new light on this national emblem, our nation itself, and who we are.
Publish date: January 18th 2011
Pages no: 249
Edition language: English
My favorite thing about Mr Lengel’s book is how he traces political and ideological changes throughout society, and how those changes affected how people viewed Washington. I found it especially interesting how various politicians and the like twist Washington’s character to push their own agenda. F...