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    I know [patriotism] exists, and I know it has done much in the present contest. But a great and lasting war can never be supported on this principle alone. It must be aided by a prospect of interest, or some reward.

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One of his officers, Henry Lee, summed up contemporary public opinion of Washington: First in war, first in peace, and read more

One of his officers, Henry Lee, summed up contemporary public opinion of Washington: First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.

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We ought not to look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose read more

We ought not to look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dear-bought experience.

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On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took read more

On April 30, 1789, George Washington, standing on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York, took his oath of office as the first President of the United States. Of this he wrote to James Madison: As the first of every thing, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent, it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.

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Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable, procures success to the weak, and esteem to read more

Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable, procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.

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Written about Washington after his death by another of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson: His mind was great and powerful read more

Written about Washington after his death by another of the founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson: His mind was great and powerful ... as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion.... Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw doubt, but, when once decided, going through his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was the most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known.... He was, indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good and a great man ... On the whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect ... it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great....

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The new constitution established a president with powers unheard of in the republican United States. Some even wanted him to read more

The new constitution established a president with powers unheard of in the republican United States. Some even wanted him to be king, a thought that GW found ludicrous: What astonishing changes a few years are capable of producing! I am told that even respectable characters speak of a monarchical form of government without horror. From thinking proceeds speaking, thence to acting is often but a single step. But how irrevocable and tremendous! What a triumph for the advocates of despotism to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves, and that systems founded on the basis of equal liberty are merely ideal & fallacious!

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Our country's honor calls upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion; and if we now shamefully fail, we shall read more

Our country's honor calls upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion; and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world.

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I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education which I received from my mother.

I attribute my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education which I received from my mother.

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Following his brief inaugural address to the Congress, President George Washington and his party walked over to St. Paul's Church read more

Following his brief inaugural address to the Congress, President George Washington and his party walked over to St. Paul's Church for divine services. His prayer that afternoon was: 'Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large.'

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