Progressives, Race And History : The Attack On George Washington

George Washington

George Washington’s extraordinary accomplishments set the stage for American liberty — so of course Progressives must reduce him to a racist slave owner. [A guest post by Wolf Howling.]

No figure was more central to the birth of our nation, first in war, then as a Constitutional Republic, than George Washington. In 1776, with the Revolution by all accounts lost and our army in tatters, it was Washington who led a ragged band of men in history’s most audacious, decisive and pivotal raids at Trenton and Princeton. It was Washington who, through 1782, kept the military together under unimaginable adversity and who, at the end of the war, stopped a military coup by his unpaid officers. It was Washington in 1783 who, unlike almost all other military leaders throughout history, laid down his sword at the end of the war and bowed to civilian control of the government.

It was Washington, called from retirement in 1787, who presided over the drafting and passage of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It was Washington who, in 1789, was unanimously elected to serve as our President. And it was Washington who, eight years later, stepped down as President, establishing a precedent of a peaceful and orderly transfer of power. He was, as Lord Byron later wrote, the Cinncinatus of the West.

Few people in history have succeeded under the adversity Washington faced. Even fewer accomplished so much in both war and peace. None but he accomplished those in the furtherance of freedom from government. He is one of the few historical figures that was truly indispensable. And yet . . .

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Enter Drake Univ. Prof. Jennifer Harvey – she a progressive with an exquisitely fine tuned sense of social justice and white guilt. Writing an op-ed at the NYT, she asks “Are We Raising Racists?” It seems that her seven year old daughter came home from school “singing the praises of George Washington.” Ms. Harvey found herself “dismayed” at this “one dimensional” teaching of history. Well, history does indeed have countless dimensions, all of which contribute to the context and understanding of any particular event of note. But Ms. Harvey had only a very selective second dimension in mind:

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Bookworm came late to conservativism but embraced it with passion. She's been blogging since 2004 at Bookworm Room about anything that captures her fancy -- and that's usually politics. Her blog's motto is "Conservatives deal with facts and reach conclusions; liberals have conclusions and sell them as facts."