George Washington’s Last Stand

Washington After his Presidency felt anxious
Unhappy Campers Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.

FRENCH DRESSING

The unsettled threat of France and the possibility of being at war caused Washington to enact his Commander-in-Chief of the Army status. After all French ships were actively attacking American ships. Fearing that his friend and successor John Adams might need his assistance Washington wrote to the current President offering to organize the army in the best interests of the Nation.

ELECTION MEDDLING? REALLY?

Hard to believe but accusation of election meddling from other countries was a real concern in 1798. Washington was concerned with not only the potential for full war with France but that they had interfered in the American Election. In a remarkable parallel to today’s politics, Washington’s Federalist Party accused France of meddling in the presidential election at the request of Jefferson and his fellow Republicans.

DEAR JOHN

July 13, 1798

Our second President seeks the help of the First.

FALSE START

The Quasi-War is the reason two branches of the armed forces exist. Both the Department Of The Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps were founded in response to the French privateers’ attacks on American shipping. Benjamin Stoddert, a Revolutionary War vet who had previously, at the request of Washington, purchased the land on the Potomac that would become Washington, D.C., had to organize both concerns as the first secretary of the Navy. He wisely realized that the Navy didn’t have enough ships to engage the French all over the Atlantic, so he massed his forces in the Caribbean, attacking France at its strongest point. Stoddert’s plan was a smashing success, as the new 25-ship Navy (largely commercial vessels purchased and armed by Stoddert) captured or damaged several French frigates, and captured eight privateers while losing only one American ship, Retaliation, which was itself a captured and refitted privateer. Even then, Retaliation’s commanding officer managed to convince the French that nearby American ships were overpowered and not worth tangling with.

MARTHA’S LOVE

Washington’s relationship with his wife Martha Washington in those final years;

George’s first love Sally Fairfax

DEATH OF A FATHER

George Washington’s last push at politics began a year before his death. As he returned home to Mount Vernon after the Quasi-War there was a noticeable difference in his appearance. The passion for more fight had subsided and was evident on his physical slouch and unsteady hands. His hearing has diminished and his painful dentures (not wood) was causing tremendous pain. Never expecting to live past 50 years old the now 67 year old former President was living his final days.

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Steven C. Owens

Steven C. Owens

Writer of life lessons sprinkled with meaningful sports and history editorials.