Tag Archives | George Washington

Benedict Arnold, explained but not excused

Nathaniel Philbrick‘s Valient Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. explains–but does not excuse–Benedict Arnold. And the explanation is an important part of the history of the American Revolution. And, therefore, it is important for Americans to hear and understand. Philbrick is a top-flight historian whose narrative prose makes any topic he tackles readable […]

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The United States has always been divided in its thinking — even before it was the United States

The deep divisions in America’s current political culture undoubtedly pose serious and difficult problems for the long-term health of the nation, but they need to be set in some context. The truth is that the United States of America has never been united except on the most basic of principles (equal justice, free speech, etc.). […]

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Trumbull’s portrait of Washington at West Point: marvelous art with an even better story (part 2)

Artist John Trumbull had been in London only a short time in 1780 when he started working on a full-length portrait Great Britain’s arch American enemy George Washington. Trumbull, a former colonel in the Continental Army, was clearly violating the pledge he made to British officials not to participate in political activities. Ostensibly, he was […]

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Trumbull’s portrait of Washington at West Point: marvelous art with an even better story (part 1)

It’s one of the best paintings of George Washington that you have probably never seen. And the story behind it is even more interesting than the painting. The painting is John Trumbull‘s portrait of George Washington at West Point. Washington is pictured in a heroic stance with his slave/servant Billy Lee to his left and the […]

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Charles Willson Peale (caricature)

Charles Willson Peale and the image of the American Revolution

A big part of George Washington’s image was, well, Washington’s image. What Washington looked like was essential — more important than we probably understand — to what we think of him and ultimately how we think of America. The American revolutionaries of the 18th century understood that very well. It was an age well before […]

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