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Washington: A Life
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PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > WEEK THREE - SPOTLIGHT - Presidential Series - WASHINGTON, A LIFE - October 10th - October 16th - Chapters THIRTEEN through Chapters SEVENTEEN - 136 - 205 - No Spoilers, Please

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message 1: by Teri (new) - added it

Teri (teriboop) Hello Everyone,

For the week of October 10th - October 16th, we are reading the Chapters Thirteen through Seventeen of Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow.

The third week's reading assignment is:

Week Three - October 10th - October 16th
Chapter Thirteen - Seventeen - (pages 136 - 205)

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

This book is being kicked off on September 26th.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, local bookstore or on your Kindle. This weekly thread will be opened up October 10th.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

Bentley will be moderating this discussion and Assisting Moderators Teri, Jill, and Samanta will be backups.

Welcome,

~Bentley

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Washington A Life by Ron Chernow by Ron Chernow Ron Chernow

REMEMBER NO SPOILERS ON THE WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREADS - ON EACH WEEKLY NON SPOILER THREAD - WE ONLY DISCUSS THE PAGES ASSIGNED OR THE PAGES WHICH WERE COVERED IN PREVIOUS WEEKS. IF YOU GO AHEAD OR WANT TO ENGAGE IN MORE EXPANSIVE DISCUSSION - POST THOSE COMMENTS IN ONE OF THE SPOILER THREADS. THESE CHAPTERS HAVE A LOT OF INFORMATION SO WHEN IN DOUBT CHECK WITH THE CHAPTER OVERVIEW AND SUMMARY TO RECALL WHETHER YOUR COMMENTS ARE ASSIGNMENT SPECIFIC. EXAMPLES OF SPOILER THREADS ARE THE GLOSSARY, THE BIBLIOGRAPHY, THE INTRODUCTION AND THE BOOK AS A WHOLE THREADS.

Notes:

It is always a tremendous help when you quote specifically from the book itself and reference the chapter and page numbers when responding. The text itself helps folks know what you are referencing and makes things clear.

Citations:

If an author or book is mentioned other than the book and author being discussed, citations must be included according to our guidelines. Also, when citing other sources, please provide credit where credit is due and/or the link. There is no need to re-cite the author and the book we are discussing however.

If you need help - here is a thread called the Mechanics of the Board which will show you how:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Also the citation thread:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Introduction Thread:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Table of Contents and Syllabus

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Glossary

Remember there is a glossary thread where ancillary information is placed by the moderator. This is also a thread where additional information can be placed by the group members regarding the subject matter being discussed.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Bibliography

There is a Bibliography where books cited in the text are posted with proper citations and reviews. We also post the books that the author used in his research or in his notes. Please also feel free to add to the Bibliography thread any related books, etc with proper citations. No self promotion, please. We will be adding to this thread as we read along.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Book as a Whole and Final Thoughts - SPOILER THREAD

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Washington A Life by Ron Chernow by Ron Chernow Ron Chernow


message 2: by Teri (new) - added it

Teri (teriboop) Everyone, for the week of October 10th - October 16th, we are reading the Chapter(s) 13 - 17 of Washington: A Life

The third week's reading assignment is:

Week Three - October 10th - October 16th
Chapter(s) Thirteen - Seventeen - pages 136 - 205

Chapter Overview and Summary:

Chapter 13: A World of His Own
In 1765, Parliament enacted the Stamp Act causing outrage in the House of Burgesses. Washington was unhappy the pressure from his British creditors to pay off his debts. In 1767, the Townshend Acts placed duties on goods sold to colonists. Washington put his support behind a boycott of British goods. In the spring of 1769, Washington created a plan for a nonimportation association for Virginia that led to the governor disbanding the House of Burgesses.

Chapter 14: The Asiatic Prince
Washington struggled at home. He lost his stepdaughter Patsy to epilepsy and tried to give Jacky an education.

Chapter 15: A Shock of Electricity
The Boston Tea Party caused concerns through the colonies. The governor again disbanded the House of Burgesses, but Washington and others agreed to cease imports. Washington met with Colonel George Mason who gave him twenty-four resolutions for the Fairfax County committee known as The Fairfax Resolves. They would be adopted and Washington headed up a committee to review future policy responses. Washington was one of the Virginia delegates to attend the the First Continental Congress.

Chapter 16: The Glorious Cause
In June, Congress took control of the troops in Boston and placed Washington as their leader.

Chapter 17: Magnificent Bluff
Congress established the Continental Army. Washington befriended two northern generals, Nathanael Greene and Henry Knox.


message 3: by Teri (new) - added it

Teri (teriboop) I'm opening this thread early for everyone. Bentley is traveling for the next couple of days and am I. Jill, Samanta, and Vicki are available for questions.

So let the conversation begin. We are discussing up through chapter 17 this week.


message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you very much Teri - I was in the thick of Matthew driving North.

Welcome everybody - isn't this a great book?


message 5: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) I didn't realize that the Stamp Act was so all-encompassing. No wonder the slogan became "no taxation without representation". Dumb move by George III.


message 6: by Rebekah (new)

Rebekah Mann | 2 comments Hello everyone. I've just joined the book club and since I expressed interest in biographies in my introduction, Brina suggested this thread. I've just gotten the book in the mail so I will be playing catch up for a few days. Hopefully I can have all 205 pages read by the 16th in time to participate in the next discussion.


message 7: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Excellent, Rebekah. It is never to late to join in a spotlight read. We are a little slow this week but there is always lively discussion.


Harmke Reading through the chapters of this week I started wondering how Washington managed to let accidental events work in his favour. Or let it at least seem accidental. Reading on I couldn't help but thinking 'How did he do it?' How did he manage to control his ambition on matters of power? Especially when you read how moody and snappish he could be on bussiness matters.

The author mentioned on page 186: Things seldom happened accidentally to George Washington, but he managed them with such consummate skill that they often seemed to happen accidentally. By 1775 he had a fine sense of power - how to gain it, how to keep it, how to wield it.


message 9: by Matt (new)

Matt | 4 comments This is a great book. Since its so long I worried it would plod slowly through his life. It is definitely a great overview and I could really see that the author did tireless research.


Karen (karinlib) I am a little behind in the reading. I am on chapter 11. I was on vacation last week (I am always too busy to read on vacation). One thing that has struck me so far what Washington expects of himself as well as others. He reminds me of Lincoln a little in his continual self-improvement.


Savannah Jordan | 96 comments I can't help but notice how many people died so young and how people trudged on despite so many tragedies.


Karen (karinlib) Savannah wrote: "I can't help but notice how many people died so young and how people trudged on despite so many tragedies."
I agree with you Savannah. What I find interesting from studying this time period is that it wasn't unusual for young boys to become the "man of the house", to make decisions that most of us wouldn't make until much older.


message 13: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Washington's attitudes in personal and business matters were indeed rather curt, for lack of a better word. But I think if we look through history at some of those who became great leaders, we will find that many of them took that same "take charge" attitude. It may not have been an attractive personality trait but it worked. Born leaders don't need to be loved, just listened to and i think this is the case here.


Pamela (winkpc) | 621 comments Harmke wrote: "Reading through the chapters of this week I started wondering how Washington managed to let accidental events work in his favour. Or let it at least seem accidental. Reading on I couldn't help but ..."

One of the things I've always admired about G. Washington is the fact of how disciplined he was. He set goals and he worked towards them pretty single-mindedly. Because his life was not haphazard, he was then able to take calm advantage of anything unusual that came his way.

Martha appears to have been the same. Her daily schedule was full and complicated, to say the least. I guess that disciplined attitude is a characteristic of successful people at any time but seems to have been a real advantage in past centuries.


Harmke Pamela wrote: "Harmke wrote: "Reading through the chapters of this week I started wondering how Washington managed to let accidental events work in his favour. Or let it at least seem accidental. Reading on I cou..."

Indeed, his discipline was one of his decisive qualities that helped him to top of society. I don't know Washington well yet, but based on what I've been reading so far I too admire his discipline.


message 16: by Carol (last edited Oct 18, 2016 02:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carol Dobson | 94 comments Reading about these early years of Washington I find it difficult to reach beyond the image we are seeing of a privileged man, very representative of his class. He lived, like so many of the other plantation owners, beyond his means. He replaced his white stoneware dishes with new crockery by Josiah Wedgewood. He was not satisfied with bone or wooden handles, he bought cutlery with silver handles. Already very in debt to his agent in London, he bought a new 4 horse coach, with a "Sumptuous blue or green Moroccan leather lining and light gilding around the side panels to spotlight his coat of arms."
The background to all this spending is, of course, slavery, and it is difficult to read of the extravagance of Virginian gentlemen, or in this case, one particular Virginian gentleman, without thinking of the poor wretches toiling in the fields or working elsewhere on the estate, and being sadly reminded of the contrast. Chernow never spares us. He does not romanticize the hero of the American Revolution and the first President. He is wonderfully factual.


Savannah Jordan | 96 comments Carol wrote: "Reading about these early years of Washington I find it difficult to reach beyond the image we are seeing of a privileged man, very representative of his class. He lived, like so many of the other ..."

We have to remember that very rarely do any of us totally rise above the rules of our culture. Washington was very uneasy with slavery, but could not find a substitute. He did free a number of slaves upon his death. Jefferson, a man who said one thing and did another, did not, as far as I know, ever free a slave. If you want to see how few of us rise above the traditions of our society, look at the treatment of women. John Adams, a man whom I regard of impeccable moral character, laughed when Abigail, his wife, suggested to him not to forget the ladies in determining who should vote. They could not vote until 1920. They could not participate on jury trials until almost the 1960s because it was thought that their brains were too feeble. They were not allowed to attend college until almost the 1920s. The list goes on and on and the saddest part of all this is that women so readily accepted their inferior status.


Pamela (winkpc) | 621 comments Savannah wrote: "Carol wrote: "Reading about these early years of Washington I find it difficult to reach beyond the image we are seeing of a privileged man, very representative of his class. He lived, like so many..."

Those are very good examples, Savannah. It's hard to read history and not judge by the standards of our own day. But, as your examples show, we can only get a true picture if we look at these people in comparison to others of their own time. And I don't imagine we will look too enlightened a couple hundred years from now either. Part of the interest in reading history for me is seeing just how much progress human beings have made and seeing how far we have to go.


message 19: by Carol (last edited Oct 19, 2016 01:30AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carol Dobson | 94 comments I believe, however, that Washington did change, to some extent, like so many of his compatriots. In his early years his ideas reflected those of the society in which he grew up, and that reflection was neither humane nor compassionate. It was a time of revolution, not just in America, but also in Europe. The old ideas were being swept away. In France, Montesquieu, as long ago as 1748, had written in L'Esprit des Lois, that there should be a separation of power between the executive, the legislature and the courts. Voltaire talks about the rights of man. It is the time of the Enlightenment, and not long after the American struggle for their independence, the long-suffering French rise up and destroy the power of the king and the nobility.


message 20: by Carol (last edited Oct 19, 2016 01:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carol Dobson | 94 comments I have just been reading 'America goes to war,' a social history of the Continental Army, by Charles Patrick Niemeyer. In it he argues that that the armies on both sides were European, as well as African-American. The British army had many Germans, generally called Hessians, (although mainly not from Hesse) in their ranks, whose rulers were paid for their services (but not the men themselves, they were just paid a wage). The American army also had many German-speaking people, particularly from Pennsylvania. Irish and Scottish immigrants also feature strongly in the American army, and Scottish regiments are, of course, famous in the British army. The French, the historical enemies of the British, were there on the side of America in force, and there was often uneasiness on the part of Congress and many of the Continental leaders that by allowing the French to help, they would perhaps only be exchanging one European master for another.
(I can't manage to find the book to add it here, so apologies.)


message 21: by Teri (new) - added it

Teri (teriboop) Carol wrote: "I have just been reading 'America goes to war,' a social history of the Continental Army, by Charles Patrick Niemeyer. In it he argues that that the armies on both sides were European, as well as A..."

Carol - is it perhaps this book:

America Goes to War A Social History of the Continental Army by Charles Neimeyer by Charles Neimeyer (no photo)


Carol Dobson | 94 comments Teri wrote: "Carol wrote: "I have just been reading 'America goes to war,' a social history of the Continental Army, by Charles Patrick Niemeyer. In it he argues that that the armies on both sides were European..."
Yes, it is. My computer skills are not always of the best!


Glynn | 220 comments Did anyone else find it surprising that even in October of 1774, at the First Continental Congress, independence was still thought of as a radical idea, and Washington said "...no such thing is desired by any thinking man in all North America..." ? (pg 174)


Karen (karinlib) I truly think that the colonists didn't want to part from Britain, they just didn't want a government that bent the colonists to the royal will.
Unfortunately, I don't have the page number, but Chernow emphasized that the American Revolution (and I am using my own words here) sparked by the wealthy, not by the poor.


Carol Dobson | 94 comments Not all the colonists did want to part from Britain. I don't know the exact numbers involved, but it often seems more like a civil war going on. The Continental Army was reduced to starvation rations so frequently in a country of plenty. Joseph and Grace Galloway were not the only Loyalists!


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Jill wrote: "I didn't realize that the Stamp Act was so all-encompassing. No wonder the slogan became "no taxation without representation". Dumb move by George III."

just as a side note it impacted very severely printers like Ben Franklin


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Harmke wrote: "Pamela wrote: "Harmke wrote: "Reading through the chapters of this week I started wondering how Washington managed to let accidental events work in his favour. Or let it at least seem accidental. R..."

So I have to agree with both the ladies - disciplined and industrious and ambitious - ambitious to succeed.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Pamela wrote: "Savannah wrote: "Carol wrote: "Reading about these early years of Washington I find it difficult to reach beyond the image we are seeing of a privileged man, very representative of his class. He li..."

But in reality not that he "could not" as Savannah wrote but maybe that he "would not" because he was accustomed to his life style but he had to know it was wrong. And his expectations in daily life were well illustrated by pg 194 para 1 that he expected that Darby, the slave boy left behind, would work for him for free =- obviously the Tories who owned Darby treated him well enough to know he had a value and confidence to say it.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Carol wrote: "Not all the colonists did want to part from Britain. I don't know the exact numbers involved, but it often seems more like a civil war going on. The Continental Army was reduced to starvation ratio..."

I believe from other forgotten sources that it was in the neighborhood of 20%


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments I thought I would add my comments on what more we could see of GW thru these chapters

==================================
These chapters give us additional insights into GW and the country and people at the time

Chapter 13

GW continues to smart from failing to get a British commission

Pg 137 para 1 with the Dismal Swamp project shows the needed talents of working gentleman farmers to also be engineers. - the scope of GW continues to emerge.
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GW was also constantly trying to increase his land holdings.
pg 141 paras 2 & 3 seem to show the real business man in GW in trying to maximize the results of his farm.
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1769 shows him still incurring debts in a continuation of conspicuous consumption. As noted by Carol in msg 16. Similar to Jefferson it seems to me
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pg 144 - 1768/9 seem to be a turning point for GW - he begins to support boycott of Brit goods - begins - it seems to me - to see his nationalism identity as not an Englishman.
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pg 145 para 1 - he begins to talk of possible use of arms.
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Pg 148 para 4 - GW the business man farmer went after land - got much pg 150 para 1 20,000 + 11,000 acres- pg 150 para 4 Thomas Jefferson owned thousands of acres - these were not poor farmers
===========================
I bet that GW owned more land than Donald Trump ever dreamed or—-maybe…..

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Chapter 14

Washington the father/family man.
sweet epileptic Patsy and with the not perfect Jacky Curtis as step kids for GW
GW though was still lending - without repayment it seems to his mother and finally bought her a house
1772 Jacky brings Charles Willson Peale to visit and eventually paint GW - leading to our dominant images of the man.
1773 Jacky is taken by GW to Kings College partly in hopes to settle him - also Patsy dies - via MW - GW inherits from Patsy and is able to be free of debt. - Chernow wonders how GW could have gone off to war if he had still had these obligations over his head (would Hancock be on the one dollar bill?)- and with Jacky and school MW is free to be with GW - Chernow says but she is not with him up to end of this weeks reading.
In the end Jacky leaves school and marries - wealthy by inheritance
=========================================================






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Chapter 15
in 1771 GW again lubricates voters with food & drink
1773 land agent & Boston Tea Party - Gage occupies Boston - but not to defend the colonies

pg 167 Para 2 - French Indian war land grants limited to Brit soldiers- riling GW
1774- Fairfax resolves - we begin more to document grievances.
Aug 74 GW elected to 1st congress - GW worked the churches/ dinners/ taverns to win this posting
pg 175 para 2 organizing the militia and taxing for them - growing skills he would need to run the country.

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Chapter 16
pg 181 para 2 GW sobered by Lexington Apr 19 - 1775 (farmers were individuals - GW must have felt this)

pg 182 - leaves Mt V until…….?

pg 183 para 3 GW arrives at 2nd cont congress in uniform - obviously trying to demonstrate his leadership experience & ability.
para 4 - on 9 committees - participated in decision making- beyond the military scope (- more prep to understanding to be Pres)
para 4 - I did not know Hancock wanted mil leader job - don’t know so much about Hancock (but from MA & GW from VA - most populace colony)
(GW seems like Eisenhower - quiet - steady) GW supported by John & Sam Adams from MA
P 187 GW accepts for “glorious cause” passes on pay
p188 #2 - in London Brits note GW does it for principle.

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chapter 17
Pg 196 - GW wanted social peers as officers
pg199 - with lack or powder & enough men - GW used his “gift of silence”
pg 200 Howe sends 300 sick Bostonians to American lines - first germ warfare? - GW has troops Inoculated against smallpox (first time done in a military situation?)
pg 202 GW keeps contact / control / management of Mt Vernon by correspondence
pg 202/203 - Gen. Nathanael Greene big asset
Pg 203/204 Knox GW’s artillery guru.
I note both Greene and Knox - like GW self educated. - “his guys”

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so GW seems to be driven to succeed - to overcome his poorer beginnings after his father died and to grow into a landed gentry after the addition of the MW assets.

Exciting guy - industrious and ambitious and fair - in a southern way of the times fashion.


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Folks we will continue this and get caught up - there is no rush and this is a great book - I was just out handling personal situations.


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