Robert Ringer

George Washington’s Warning

By Robert Ringer - Monday, July 1, 2013

With Independence Day coming up this week, it got me to thinking about the contrast between where we are today and where we were when it all started 237 years ago.

If you’ve ever wondered why that 555-foot monolith on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is named after the first president of the United States, read a good book on George Washington.  Let me tell you, the guy was one tough dude.  I believe he honestly thought he was invincible … and he was, at least until an illness, generally believed to have been acute laryngitis, took him down in 1799, just three years after his retirement to his beloved Mount Vernon estate.

They don’t make wars like the American War of Independence anymore.  No antiseptic missile strikes that allow you to kill without having to see blood and guts flying in every direction.  No, the colonial patriots had to fight the English up close — real close … in freezing weather … sweltering hot weather … with very little food … too few supplies … and a lack of manpower.  Long before Winston Churchill came along, the colonial troops discovered firsthand that war truly is hell.

On top of all the physical trauma they endured, the troops often had to go without pay.  In fact, after the Battle of Trenton, Washington offered officers whose tour of duty was running out $10 to re-enlist.  He was willing to do anything and everything to win — including sleeping on the ground right alongside his troops on more than one occasion.

Had another general other than Washington led the revolutionary troops, one has to wonder how the colonial troops could have possibly defeated the world’s most powerful military force from across the pond.  Even so, at the outset, most colonists were skeptical about Washington’s ability to triumph over the dreaded British military.  And for most of the eight-year war, it looked like their skepticism had been justified.

Keep in mind that throughout the long war there was a civilian battle of words going on between — you guessed it — the hawks (“patriots” who were willing to fight for their freedom) and the doves (“loyalists” who stood with Great Britain).  And, interestingly, a similar war of words was being fought among the populace in Great Britain as well.  Many Brits did not feel that fighting a war 3,000 miles away — at a cost that was draining the economy — was worth it.  Sound familiar?

In fact, the British had their own version of 9/11 when John  Paul  Jones, a former British naval officer who became a colonial patriot, brought the revolution to Great Britain’s doorstep by raiding the west coast of England!  Suddenly, what had been an unpopular foreign war was threatening to expand onto British soil.  The result was that the anti-war crowd howled its disapproval of the American quagmire even more.

And when, in 1779, the British tried a last-ditch strategy to gain a foothold in the South by sending 1,000 ships to the Port of Charleston in South Carolina, all hell broke loose.  I doubt many Americans today realize it, but it actually became the country’s first civil war, with family members in South Carolina often split between the loyalists and the patriots.  The fighting between the two sides was not only vicious, but often vindictive.

Nevertheless, if  George Washington was anything, he was stubborn.  Make that tough and stubborn.  On one occasion, he handed down a sentence for two officers to face a firing squad for treason.  Then, in a move that made it crystal clear to his troops that he meant business, he ordered the firing squad to be composed of the twelve men who had been the two officers’ accomplices!

That’s harsh … real harsh.  Let me tell you, if George Washington had ordered me to eat bugs, I would have asked him how many and how fast.  I would not have had the nerve to even ask him if I could wash them down with water.

Thousands of volumes have been written about the American Revolution, detailing every strategy, every battle, and every side plot.  But when all is said and done, for me what stands out most was George Washington’s incredible toughness and tenacity.

He undoubtedly would have been appalled to see what wusses modern Americans have become.  Can you imagine the girlymen presidential candidates we have today — advocates of never-ending entitlements for Americans addicted to the good life — facing off against George Washington?  He would have brought them to their knees without having to do much more than employ his Clint Eastwood stare.

The colonists’ victory over Great Britain — against unfathomable odds — had to be the greatest comeback in the annals of war.  It’s enough to make one feel ashamed of himself for stewing over every little obstacle that crosses his path in our cushy 21st century America.

After the Constitution was ratified (in my opinion, a step backward for America), Washington was unanimously elected the country’s first president.  He took the oath of office in New York on April 30, 1789, in New York City, served two terms, then voluntarily retired to his beautiful Mount Vernon estate.

It’s significant to recall that in his farewell address, George Washington warned the American people against long-term foreign alliances and said we should not allow political parties or geography to divide us.  That, more than anything else, answers the question of how we got to where we are today from where we were when it all started 237 years ago.

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Copyright © 2019 Robert Ringer
ROBERT RINGER is a New York Times #1 bestselling author and host of the highly acclaimed Liberty Education Interview Series, which features interviews with top political, economic, and social leaders. He has appeared on Fox News, Fox Business, The Tonight Show, Today, The Dennis Miller Show, Good Morning America, The Lars Larson Show, ABC Nightline, and The Charlie Rose Show, and has been the subject of feature articles in such major publications as Time, People, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Barron's, and The New York Times.

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26 Responses to “George Washington’s Warning”

  1. earl adkins says:

    Must read: Washington The Indispensable Man

  2. Mark Wells says:

    Ratification of the Constitution “a step backwards”?. What was a better alternative?

    • Nigtrider says:

      Is/was that a typo by the writer? I was waiting for an explanation in the story of how ratification of the US Constitution was a step backwards? Perhaps the writer can given his explanation in comments here.

      • Bill Zimmerly says:

        It was a step forward into nationalization and away from sovereign states was how I read it, and I agree with Mr. Ringer on that point. Too little was spelled out in the Constitution to protect states from the ever-growing power of the Feds. For but one example, what does a Senator or Congressman face as punishment for contempt or even clear violations of his/her Oath of Office? (I'm thinking of Nancy Peolosi's infamous "Are you kidding?" comments to the man who was asking her where the Constitution authorizes Obamacare?

        • The Last Conservative says:

          That is exactly correct. Europe worked perfectly without the euro. The Soviet Union is better as separate countries. The USA would be better as states with a tattered alliance of a national relationship. This country has gone straight to hell as the federal government has grown to a terminally cancerous size.

  3. Reality Seeker says:

    Happy 4th, and thanks for another well written post.

    By the way, the latest Wayne Allyn Root interview was excellent. It's nice to hear how Mr. Root finally understands just how government and big business merged in order to crush free-market capitalism and the middle-class serf.

    "the Constitution was ratified (in my opinion, a step backward for America)"


    "the girlymen presidential candidates we have today"

    Well said.

    Personally, I've been profiling Daniel Boone for the past two weeks, and I wonder how many amerikans will even stop to think of, let alone analyze, who a real man is, how he acts, thinks, feels and how different a real man is from a ladyboy.

    The Founding Fathers were dangerous men in a good way, and amerikans would not like them if they were alive today.

  4. David Welber says:

    Washington's character is the reason our revolution didn't go the way of most others. Twice he was handed power, first, when in the wake of his stunning victory at Yorktowne, he was undisputed master of the continental army, and second when he was elected President. Twice, he handed the power back. What revolutionary leaders have ever done that. History is full of Stalins, Hitlers, Caesars, Robespierre's, but there was only one George Washington.

  5. johanberger519 says:

    My wife and I saw Mt Vernon in 1997 when going on our second trip to the U.S.
    I still remember how solid the woodwork seemed after two hundred years.
    No creaky stairway and no clanking doors either..
    GWs master bed looked as if it had been recently oiled as did all tables and shelves in parlor and kitchen. I have no remembrance from his study what with desk and feather gills, though. Guess the museum guides had removed any for fear of them being stolen…
    Thanks for the tip on a Washington book, Robert!

  6. Bill Zimmerly says:

    Outstanding article, as always, Mr. Ringer! Kudos to you, Sir. :)

  7. Lawrence Ekdahl, says:

    This Obama had the audacity to compare the murderer Mandela with the greatest man our country ever had, George Washington.

  8. Chris McMorrow says:

    Who were the effeminate, degenerate politicians that passed legislation celebrating "President's Day" in place of celebrating the birthday of the father of our country, the Iron Man, the great George Washington?

    I don't hesitate to brand them as the moral cowards and cultural traitors they are.

    Of course, you could say the same thing about most of today's politicians – "men" who have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution and Federalism, but who violate it in the forming and passing of effeminate socialist legislation nearly every day, and which is then upheld by the effeminate degenerates on the "Supreme" Court.

    The American Iron Man would be appalled at just how effeminate, and degenerate, we as a nation have become.

  9. frank says:

    george…our first potus…commander of the revolutionaries ……was tough,a surveyer and capitalist…warned of foreign entanglements……much less than perfect he was a man of action who learned from mistakes….a man of character and wisdom he turned down offers to be king!

    in contrast we have pols today with big egos,priviledge,power,generosity with other people's money,and some with dreams of megalmania who stubbornly pursue vast social experiments that have always failed in history….

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