George Washington And Governing With Civility


This was the best read from the Saturday morning papers–again making a statement as to why newspapers matter.

The whole article is worth a read, as Ron Chernow is one of America’s noted historians, and George Washington never fails to produce an interesting nugget for history buffs.

There is also a lesson here for all of our leaders……

Consider his treatment of Citizen Genet, the ambassador of Revolutionary France who demanded an audience with Washington in May 1793. A month earlier, Washington had declared the country’s neutrality between Britain and France—to the dismay of his Francophile secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson. Meanwhile, his Anglophile secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton, hoped he would refuse to see the upstart ambassador. 

Washington forged a compromise: “He would receive Genet, to please Jefferson, but without ‘too much warmth or cordiality,’ to satisfy Hamilton,” Mr. Chernow recounts in “Washington: A Life.”

“It’s this kind of face-saving measure that I think gives a tone of civility to politics,” Mr. Chernow argues. Nowadays, politicians are “out for blood. It’s a take-no-prisoners kind of atmosphere.” Yet Washington’s example proves “you can be decisive and civil at the same time.”

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