Young George Washington in Psychobiographical Perspective

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From a personality standpoint there appear to have been two George Washingtons: pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary. The pre-revolutionary Washington had a grandiose personality, preoccupied with his honor, dignity, and reputation, and obsessed with acquisition of material wealth, especially land. Having won the Revolutionary War and served two terms as president, Washington underwent a transformation by becoming generous, magnanimous, and judicious. Since the literature on post-revolutionary Washington is voluminous, the present work focuses on pre-revolutionary Washington and his strengths, weaknesses and foibles, and specifically the conditions, forces, events, and persons that shaped his personality and drove him to action. The resulting portrait is a careful, accurate, and realistic one, intended to counterbalance the numerous adulatory and superhuman accounts. Part One is an interpretive essay drawing on Washington’s writings in an abbreviated fashion, presenting only the most operative or strategic passages. Part Two consists of a series of appendices that place these passages in broader contexts and allow Washington to speak for himself. In presenting Washington’s writings, spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, italics, the editor’s brackets have been left intact: they are exact reproductions from the sources indicated.


“ ... There are hundreds of books, monographs, and treatises about Washington, but there is nothing currently like this exciting type of research … This book is an original idea and a work of scholarship. I cannot think of any other scholars who are so preeminently qualified to write on leadership from the political and sociological perspective ...” – Professor George A. Kourvetaris, Northern Illinois University; editor, Journal of Political and Military Sociology

“At a time when presidential leadership and character are being re-evaluated by academics, journalists, and the public at large, this book may help us to gain new perspectives leading to new answers by viewing the developmental stages of George Washington, both in his own words and through an articulate and provocative interpretation ... This book will add to and enrich both the Washington persona and the growing analytical efforts to link childhood and adolescent experiences and development to adult patterns of behavior ...” – Ronald J. Stupak, Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

“This book offers a fresh new look at America’s first president. Drawing on Washington’s own writings as well as those of his contemporaries, the author challenge the conventional wisdom of Washington as the superhuman and instead present a nicely nuanced study of Washington’s childhood, maturation, and adult leadership style ...” – Professor Darrell M. West, Brown University

Table of Contents

Part I: Interpretation
Augustine Washington
Mary Ball Washington
Lawrence Washington
Appleby No More
Sarah (Sally) Cary Fairfax
Martha Custis Washington
Toward Immortality

Part II: Contextualization
To Mrs. Mary Washington
To Anonymous
To William Fauntleroy, Sr.
To Mrs. George William Fairfax
To Sarah Cary Fairfax
To John Augustine Washington
To Colonel William Fitzhugh
To Robert Dinwiddie
To Brigadier General John Stanwix
To Major Francis Halkett
To George Muse
To George Mason
Acceptance of Appointment as General and Commander in Chief
To Mrs. Martha Washington

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