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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 37

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This is the grave of George Washington.

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There’s one much one can say about Washington, so just a couple of points.

1) His choosing to step down from power peacefully is one of the greatest things to ever happen to the United States. As we have seen around the world in revolution after revolution, without a respected tradition of peaceful succession, oppression and war result.

2) His record on slavery is highly mixed. He profited his entire life from enslaved black labor. However, to his credit, at least he freed his own slaves on his death. He could not free Martha Washington’s slaves. But he did a lot more than Jefferson. One wonders how quickly this would have changed had he the opportunity to make money in western cotton lands, something he would have been interested in given his lifelong engagement in land speculation.

3) It’s interesting that Washington remains basically inscrutable, even after ages of popular biographies. He was simply an unknowable man, even to his contemporaries.

I’m sure you all have thoughts on Washington. Go for it. The world needs an open thread on George Washington.

George Washington is buried at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

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