Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Greatness of George Washington

For Friday, you need to read the article by Gordon Wood, "The Greatness of George Washington."  You can read it online or via the handout in class.  For the discussion (or quiz) you should be able to answer the following questions:

1. In what ways was Washington “deified” in his own lifetime?
2. Gordon Wood describes Washington as the “only truly classical hero we have ever had.” What does he mean by this? What is a “classical hero?” Give examples.
3. Wood admits that Washington was not an intellectual, but a “man of affairs.” What did he mean by this? Give examples.
4. What was “Mount Vernon?”
5. He was not an intellectual nor was he a traditional military hero. According to Wood, where did Washington’s greatness lay?
6. To Washington, what did it mean to be a “man of virtue?” Give examples from the text in regard to Washington’s behavior.
7. What was “Washington’s Enlightenment?”
8. What major “moral mark” did Washington make in the political world?
9. What two decisions did Washington have to make in his life that caused him the most distress? Why?
10. According to Wood, what is the significance of Washington attending the Constitutional Convention in 1787?
11. What were Washington’s “levees?’
12. What two “crucial precedents” did Washington establish as president? Explain their significance.
13. Why were Washington’s final years of retirement not happy ones? Explain.
14. In one sentence, summarize the author’s argument. In other words, what is it that Wood set out to prove in the article?
15. Identify the evidence Wood uses for his argument.
16. Critique Wood’s argument. How effective is Wood’s argument? What questions does he leave unanswered? What challenges can be made to his thesis? Etc.

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