Washington's Birthday eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 217 pages of information about Washington's Birthday.
a spirit of heroism and enthusiasm in a people who are by nature very little susceptible of it; to gain over the respect and homage of those whose interest it is to refuse it, and to execute his plans and projects by means unknown even to those who are his instruments; he is intrepid in dangers, yet never seeks them but when the good of his country demands it, preferring rather to temporize and act upon the defensive, because he knows such a mode of conduct best suits the genius and circumstances of the nation, and all that he and they have to expect, depends upon time, fortitude, and patience; he is frugal and sober in regard to himself, but profuse in the public cause; like Peter the Great, he has by defeats conducted his army to victory; and like Fabius, but with fewer resources and more difficulty, he has conquered without fighting, and saved his country.

Such are the ideas that arise in the mind at the sight of this great man, in examining the events in which he had a share, or in listening to those whose duty obliges them to be near his person, and consequently best display his character.  In all these extensive States they consider him in the light of a beneficent god, dispensing peace and happiness around him.  Old men, women, and children press about him when he accidentally passes along, and think themselves happy, once in their lives, to have seen him—­they follow him through the towns with torches, and celebrate his arrival by public illuminations.  The Americans, that cool and sedate people, who in the midst of their most trying difficulties, have attended only to the directions and impulses of plain method and common sense, are roused, animated, and inflamed at the very mention of his name:  and the first songs that sentiment or gratitude has dictated, have been to celebrate General Washington.

IV

THE PRESIDENT

WASHINGTON AND THE CONSTITUTION

BY JOHN M. HARLAN

It is the concurring judgment of political thinkers, that no event in all the history of the Anglo-Saxon race has been more far-reaching in its consequences than the organization of the present Government of the United States.  And it is in every sense appropriate to connect the name of Washington with the Constitution which brought that government into existence.  It is appropriate because his splendid leadership of the Revolutionary armies made it possible to establish upon this continent a government resting upon the consent of the governed, yet strong enough to maintain its existence and authority whenever assailed.

But it is especially appropriate for the reason that he was among the first of the great men of the Revolutionary period to discern the inherent defects in the articles of confederation; and but for his efforts to bring about a more perfect union of the people, the existing Constitution, it is believed, would not have been accepted by the requisite number of States.  He was indeed the pioneer of the Union established by that Constitution.  Of the accuracy of these statements there is abundant evidence.

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Washington's Birthday from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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