Reading redux and Washington

All Americans should have a really good understanding of George Washington; not merely those couple of pages in the standard American history text.  I would recommend the biography by Flexner.  It is comprehensive and well written and brings to life those bland events and facts of his life. 

He was much more than a mere military man or politician.  You do realize that throughout the Revolutionary War, he had an army mostly composed of Militia.   These were the men who signed up for short periods of time, usually not more than a 9 mo. hitch at most and sometimes even less.   You can’t have a very effective army with such as this.  It takes training and “seasoning” in battle for men to become an army as opposed to a bunch of guys carrying around weapons.   The ancient Greeks, Spartans and Romans understood this very well.  Their armies trained hard and for extensive periods of time before being committed to battle.

The “Continentals” were the men who signed up for the duration of the war and were there for the long haul.  They had more training and were normally at the forefront of all the significant battles.   There were never more than a few thousand of them during the entire War.  It is truly a wonder that Washington managed to hold his army together and not suffer a crushing defeat with such ill prepared troops.

Today our Presidents make such a production of the State of the Union address.  It has become political theater, not a means of advising Congress of our condition as a Nation.   Know how Washington gave his State of the Union?  He wrote a letter to Congress with attachments giving specific details.   Wouldn’t it be great if a modern President followed that example and simply sent a letter of not more than 10 pages and attachments of not more than 50 pages to Congress.

You can judge his worth but first really know something about the man.   His life is rich with lessons for us now.

The early writings were on papyrus.  Its main growing area was Byblos in the Nile Delta.  We get our word Bible from that.  Bible means the Book.  Parchment was hide and used for writing also.  Normally it was goat skin.  Vellum, that fancy name for paper today was originally calf skin from “veel” and our word today is veal from the calf.

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Filed under Culture, Economics, government, Politics

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