the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Under general edward braddock was ambushed outside

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under General Edward Braddock was ambushed outside modern-day Pittsburgh and Washington lived to tell the tale, despite bullet holes in his coat and hat and two horses shot out from under him. He then parlayed his military reputation into marriage with Martha Custis, the wealthiest widow in Virginia, which propelled him into the upper ranks of the Tidewater aristocracy. He was a literate but not well-read man. Adams had gone to Harvard, Jefferson to William and Mary, but Washington had gone to war, meaning that his education possessed a more primal quality that aligned itself nicely with his commanding physical presence. He was not well versed in the constitutional arguments about Parliament’s limited authority over the American colonies, often deferring to his neighbor George Mason on such questions. His own encounter with British imperialism had been more personal and palpable, based on his experience with the London mercantile house Cary & Company, which he believed was bleeding him to death by charging extravagant fees for its services. For Washington, the imperious face of the British Empire was not Parliament but Robert Cary and his band of London merchants, whose profits were driving the entire planter class of Virginia into bankruptcy. Washington’s towering ego could not stand the realization that his very fate was in the hands of British creditors an ocean away, who were manipulating interest rates—or so he believed—in a massive imperial swindle. His hostility to British authority, then, had a personal edge. While he understood and endorsed the political arguments about American rights, such arguments struck him as abstractions. His grievances were more palpably economic and even emotional. He was similarly indisposed toward proposals by moderates in the Continental Congress to make plaintive appeals to the presumed generosity of George III, which struck him as deferential confessions of inferiority, a self-defeating tactic that did not accord with his own sense of superiority. Not the kind of man to suffer fools gladly, he ran his plantation at Mount Vernon imperiously and assiduously, always on the lookout for laziness among his overseers; he was not someone you would want to work for. He had once applied for a commission in the British army and been turned down—imagine the course of American history if the British had accepted him—but he interpreted his rejection not as a measure of his worth but as a statement of British stupidity. Both physically and psychologically, he was a formidable figure, and at forty-three years he was at the peak of his powers. 24 When he set out from his beloved Mount Vernon in May 1775 to attend the Continental Congress, he had no way of knowing that he would be appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army. (Or did
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he? Why else did he wear his military uniform, the only delegate to do so?) What he did know beyond much doubt was that the ten-year constitutional conflict with Great Britain was about to become a war; indeed, it had already started a month earlier at Lexington and Concord. While a majority of delegates in
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