Essay His Excellency- George Washington Book Review

1561 Words Jan 21st, 2011 7 Pages
His Excellency: George Washington

Joseph Ellis sets out to make George Washington, the person we think of as an icon, into a real person. He wants to show us what makes him tick. He wants to turn the marble into the man. So many students today see George Washington as a memorial, a monument, a face on a dollar bill, and the man who could not lie when he cut down the cherry tree. He wants to show us the man George Washington was in his day. Ellis’s method was to divide George Washington’s life into three main parts:

1. Events that transpired during the French and Indian War

2. His part as general in the American Revolution

3. His actions as President of the United States

When writing the biography of George
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One of the best decisions that George made was to marry a very wealthy widow, Martha Dandridge Custis even though his heart belonged to another woman. He thought with his head, not his heart and this was one of the many strategies he used to work his way up the ladder to become the head of Mount Vernon, and the very first president. By marrying Martha this provided Washington property and social standing. When George Washington died he was one of the richest men in America.

Ellis illustrates the vulnerability during the first years of this Great Nation. The early colonist didn’t have as much of an idea of what they were doing although this is not represented in American History we have come to know. They had to “wing it” when building this country because they didn’t have a set of plans to follow, as this hadn’t been a venture taken before. This was also evident in George Washington’s role as President. He made up the rules as he went and many presidents after him used his presidency as their reference. He made mistakes, but he learned from them. When you compare George Washington with the presidents of today, it doesn’t seem like a lot has changed. He was probably a better president than some we have had in the past 20 years or so. Everybody has their own opinion of presidents, but at least now the leaders have different models to follow that were not available to George Washington.

Ellis tells how Washington was a big statured man, that

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