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George Washington

Geburtstag: 22. Februar 1732
Todesdatum: 14. Dezember 1799

George Washington [ˈwɒʃɪŋtən] war von 1789 bis 1797 der erste Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika.

Als Oberbefehlshaber der Kontinentalarmee von 1775 bis 1783 war er einer der Gründerväter der USA und leitete als Vorsitzender die verfassunggebende Philadelphia Convention im Jahr 1787. Während seiner Präsidentschaft traf Washington wegweisende Entscheidungen, die die Entwicklung der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika als republikanische Demokratie bis heute prägen. Er wirkte vor allem auf eine gegenüber den Einzelstaaten und dem Kongress handlungsfähige Zentralgewalt hin und bildete das neu geschaffene Amt bewusst aus, indem er Präzedenzfälle schuf.

Washington wurde zur Zweihundertjahrfeier der Vereinigten Staaten am 11. Oktober 1976 postum „für die Vergangenheit und die Gegenwart“ der höchste Dienstgrad eines General of the Armies of the United States verliehen.

Zitate George Washington

„Lasst mich Euch nochmals auf das eindringlichste vor den verderblichen Wirkungen der Parteien warnen.“

—  George Washington
Abschiedsbotschaft, 1796, zitiert nach: Avalon Project, Washington's Farewell Address 1796 http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp Original engl.: "Let me now [..] warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally."

„Eines Tages könnten wir eine große blühende Nation werden, doch sollten wir auf diesem Wege unglücklicherweise erneut über ungedecktes Papiergeld oder andere Arten von Betrug stolpern, würden wir gewiß unserem nationalen Ansehen schon in seiner Kindheit einen tödlichen Stoß versetzen.“

—  George Washington
A Treatise on Monetary Reform, Monetary Realist Society 1982, S. 5 Original engl.: "[..] I am sanguine in the belief of the possibility that we may one day become a great commercial and flourishing nation. But if in the pursuit of the means we should unfortunately stumble again on unfunded paper money or any similar species of fraud, we shall assuredly give a fatal stab to our national credit in its infancy."

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„Wer auf den Krieg vorbereitet ist, kann den Frieden am Besten wahren.“

—  George Washington
Original engl.: To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. - First Annual Address, to both Houses of Congress, 8. Januar 1790 (in Anspielung auf das Lateinische "Si vis pacem para bellum".)

„It is better to be alone than in bad company.“

—  George Washington
1790s, Letter to his niece, Harriet Washington (30 October 1791)

„The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves“

—  George Washington
1770s, Context: The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die. Address to the Continental Army before the Battle of Long Island (27 August 1776)

„There might, Gentlemen, be an impropriety in my taking notice, in this Address to you, of an anonymous production — but the manner in which that performance has been introduced to the Army — the effect it was intended to have, together with some other circumstances, will amply justify my observations on the tendency of that Writing.“

—  George Washington
1780s, The Newburgh Address (1783), Context: There might, Gentlemen, be an impropriety in my taking notice, in this Address to you, of an anonymous production — but the manner in which that performance has been introduced to the Army — the effect it was intended to have, together with some other circumstances, will amply justify my observations on the tendency of that Writing. With respect to the advice given by the Author — to suspect the Man, who shall recommend moderate measures and longer forbearance — I spurn it — as every Man, who regards that liberty, & reveres that Justice for which we contend, undoubtedly must — for if Men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind; reason is of no use to us — the freedom of Speech may be taken away — and, dumb & silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.

„The unfortunate condition of the persons, whose labour in part I employed, has been the only unavoidable subject of regret.“

—  George Washington
1780s, Context: The unfortunate condition of the persons, whose labour in part I employed, has been the only unavoidable subject of regret. To make the Adults among them as easy & as comfortable in their circumstances as their actual state of ignorance & improvidence would admit; & to lay a foundation to prepare the rising generation for a destiny different from that in which they were born; afforded some satisfaction to my mind, & could not I hoped be displeasing to the justice of the Creator. Comment of late 1788 or early 1789 upon his slaves http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/slavery/the-only-unavoidable-subject-of-regret/, as recorded by David Humphreys, in his notebooks on his conversations with Washington, now in the Rosenbach Library in Philadelphia<!-- as quoted in "Housing and Family Life of the Mount Vernon Negro," unpublished paper by Charles C. Wall, prepared for the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association (May 1962), prefatory note]. -->

„Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated.“

—  George Washington
1790s, Context: Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society. Letter to Edward Newenham (20 October 1792) http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=WasFi32.xml&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=155&division=div1, these statements and one from a previous letter to Newenham seem to have become combined and altered into a misquotation of Washington's original statements to read:

„The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institutions may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest of purposes.“

—  George Washington
1780s, Context: The blessed Religion revealed in the word of God will remain an eternal and awful monument to prove that the best Institutions may be abused by human depravity; and that they may even, in some instances be made subservient to the vilest of purposes. Should, hereafter, those who are intrusted with the management of this government, incited by the lust of power & prompted by the supineness or venality of their Constituents, overleap the known barriers of this Constitution and violate the unalienable rights of humanity: it will only serve to shew, that no compact among men (however provident in its construction & sacred in its ratification) can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable—and if I may so express myself, that no wall of words—that no mound of parchmt can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other. p. 34 of a draft of a discarded and undelivered version of his first inaugural address (30 April 1789)

„We are apt to run from one extreme into another. To anticipate & prevent disasterous contingencies would be the part of wisdom & patriotism.“

—  George Washington
1780s, Context: If you tell the Legislatures they have violated the treaty of peace and invaded the prerogatives of the confederacy they will laugh in your face. What then is to be done? Things cannot go on in the same train forever. It is much to be feared, as you observe, that the better kind of people being disgusted with the circumstances will have their minds prepared for any revolution whatever. We are apt to run from one extreme into another. To anticipate & prevent disasterous contingencies would be the part of wisdom & patriotism. 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 & 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 & falacious! Would to God that wise measures may be taken in time to avert the consequences we have but too much reason to apprehend. Retired as I am from the world, I frankly acknowledge I cannot feel myself an unconcerned spectator. Yet having happily assisted in bringing the ship into port & having been fairly discharged; it is not my business to embark again on a sea of troubles. Nor could it be expected that my sentiments and opinions would have much weight on the minds of my Countrymen — they have been neglected, tho' given as a last legacy in the most solemn manner. I had then perhaps some claims to public attention. I consider myself as having none at present. Letter to John Jay (15 August 1786) http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/constitution/1784/jay2.html

„The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.“

—  George Washington
1790s, Farewell Address (1796), Context: The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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