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The Character Of George Washington

( Originally Published 1916 )



BY HENRY CABOT LODGE

For many years I have studied minutely the career of Washington, and with every step the greatness of the man has grown upon me ; for analysis has failed to discover the act of his life which, under the conditions of the time, I could unhestitatingly pronounce to have been an error. Such has been my experience, and, although my deductions may be wrong, they at least have been carefully and slowly made. I see in Washington a great soldier, who fought a trying war to a successful end impossible without him; a great statesman, who did more than any other man to lay the foundations of a republic which has endured in prosperity for more than a century. I find in him a marvelous judgment which was never at fault, a penetrating vision which beheld the future of America when it was dim to other eyes, a great intellectual force, a will of iron, an unyielding grasp of facts, and an unequaled strength of patriotic purpose. I see in him, too, a pure and high-minded gentleman of dauntless courage and stainless honor, simple and stately of manner, kind and generous of heart. Such he was in truth. The historian and the biographer may fail to do him justice, but the instinct of mankind will not fail. The real hero needs not books to give him worshipers. George Washington will always receive the love and reverence of men, because they see embodied in him the noblest possibilities of humanity.



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