George Washington is rightly called the father of our country. It was General Washington that led the “Sons of Liberty” to victory over Great Britain in the American Revolution of 1776, thus winning America’s independence as a nation. It was George Washington who presided over the debates at Philadelphia’s Constitutional Convention. No less than England’s Prime Minister William Gladstone later referred to that Convention as the greatest assembly of statesmen in history. That was the Convention that produced America’s magnificent Constitution whose system of institutional checks and balances was designed to safeguard individual freedom on the one hand, and to prevent unlimited government on the other. President Washington understood this, and much more.
The legacy of George Washington
It was George Washington who organized the first government of our Federal Republic, a model of government imitated by nations throughout the world. In forming his Cabinet, Washington took the greatest pains to nominate statesmen of the highest caliber, suffice to mention Thomas Jefferson, our first Secretary of State, and Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury.
It was Jefferson who penned America’s first foundational document, the Declaration of Independence. It is this immortal document that eloquently affirms man’s God-given rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. It is this meta-political document that embodies the principle that all men are created equal, a principle drawn from the Biblical conception of man’s creation in the image of God.
It was Hamilton who co-authored The Federalist Papers, America’s greatest work on Statesmanship. It was Hamilton who laid down the basic principles of America’s economic system, which made America the richest nation on earth. Hamilton, who served as Washington’s aide during the War of Independence. Hamilton had three horses shot from under him during the war and refused to accept any post-war benefits, saying he was only fulfilling his duty!
It is fitting that we honor President Washington and his colleagues. By so doing we not only preserve the memory of their words and deeds; we also acknowledge that we the living do not possess a monopoly of wisdom. By honoring the founders of our county we inspire youth with the idea of Greatness. We acknowledge the debt we owe our forefathers who gave their all to establish a nation based on freedom and justice. We thereby encourage our children to learn from the wisdom that made America the world’s spearhead of freedom and justice. This is why Abraham Lincoln called Americans “the almost chosen people”—which indicates that the Judeo-Christian heritage is the foundation of our great Republic.☼