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Warrior Poet Profile | Finding the Real George Washington

Warrior Poet Profile | Finding the Real George Washington

Posted by Warrior Poet Society on May 17th 2024

The grandiose world of wokeness tends to cast shade on the real world of reality and its seminal figures, so I like to bring us back every so often to the real world by looking at the greats who came before. President George Washington happens to be one of the greatest in a long line of great men who laid the foundation and formed the pillars for the modern western world. So, I talked to my historian friend about the man who crossed the Delaware to secure the freedoms we now enjoy. 

Awhile back, I (John Lovell) had a conversation about one of my heroes—President George Washington. How does this Revolutionary War General and our country’s first president live up to the Warrior Poet standard? Was he moved by a higher purpose or love for others? 

We know from the archive of his speeches that he was a great motivator of men. Men responded to him. He empowered them. He was one of the most revered men in Colonial America, and not just because of his speeches. He was also a fearsome warrior. He conquered the enemy during the French and Indian War. He was shot at, at close range, and never hit, though the rounds went through his clothing. Even his enemies respected him—including his rivals within the fledgling nation.

The Native Americans began to believe he was a man who could not be killed. And similar things happened during the Revolution. Washington also led his men into battle, rather than staying on the outskirts, which perplexed his men. And his men, likewise, enraged him at times because of their guerrilla tactics—hiding behind rocks and trees. 

The Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia long riflemen had been fighting the French and Indians, and they were accustomed to crouching down and fighting much the way we fight today. But in spite of his European fighting sensibilities, Washington was a brilliant tactician, as was displayed in his defeat of the Hessians across the Delaware River—and in many other situations as well. 

He was so revered, you might remember, that many early Americans wanted to make him a king rather than a president. Of course, he refused and, as you know, recommended term limits for his presidency.

Leadership Lessons from George Washington

And speaking of his humility and restraint, the life and presidency of George Washington can teach us life and leadership principles that lend themselves to the life of a Warrior Poet. He chose words carefully, using them with purpose and power. 

Washington could command instant respect. Sure it didn’t hurt that he had a revered wartime reputation and an imposing stature to back up his words, but he was a brilliant communicator. Whether this was a giftedness he was provided through genetics or a skill set that he honed over the years as he led men into battle, Washington understood and employed the power of language and speech. 

People listened when he spoke. They believed him when he spoke. And they were inspired by him to follow his commands. He sought unity with his men and among his men. Washington knew how to command attention and how to create unity and resolve in the ranks. He had an intuitive sense about choosing leaders, and his sense turned out to be pretty on target. 

His generals and commanders and their soldiers worked together toward a common mission, such as the defeat of the Hessians. He fought alongside his men. It’s a poor leader who is unwilling or inexperienced in doing the things he commands others to do. As I mentioned before, this was not the case with Washington. He was in the trenches and in the ranks with the men he led.

Washington’s Religion

It seems like a lot of folks these days really wanted Washington (and many others) to be a deist so that they can cast doubt on our nation’s Christian foundation. They want Washington to believe that the universe was set into motion by a “blind watchmaker” of sorts so that they can denigrate the absolutes and right inherit with a personal God of the Bible. 

This would make our founding president a proponent, essentially, of atheism and immorality, as Patrick Henry called deism. There’s some evidence that Thomas Paine’s deism is why Washington parted ways with him and never spoke to him again. So even if George Washington had some deistic tendencies, those were negated by his respect of the Bible and of a Christian worldview. 

A lot of revolutions were spawned after the American Revolution, but what set ours apart from theirs was the belief that God was behind them. Our revolution was heavily dependent on an appeal to heaven. As a matter of fact, that was George Washington's flag. It symbolizes an appeal to heaven. It's a flag with a green tree pointing up to heaven. Even Benjamin Franklin said that if God can notice when a sparrow falls, how do we think that we could not win this Revolution without his aid?

He Knew How to Suffer

During more than one Revolutionary War winter, Washington and his men suffered together in a frozen misery, but this was the case especially during their encampment at Valley Forge.

They were wrapping their often bloody feet in whatever they could find. They were starving, freezing, and watching fellow fighters die every day from the exposure. On top of that, many of his men had to leave the fight so they could go home and feed their families, who were also starving. Then you had the British encouraging the Indians to attack the colonial settlements. 

Reduced down to 1,700 men, though, Washington rallied the troops at Christmastime. The Hessians (German mercenaries) were encamped at Trenton and they were partying hard the night that Washington launched a surprise attack. They crossed the Delaware River and decimated that Hessian encampment. It would have been tempting to give into the misery. If he had, I think our continent would look a lot different than it does right now. 

Washington likely would have been hanged. Instead, though they pushed through the bitter New England cold and turned the tide of the war. And even in the midst of all this, George Washington required his men to attend church services. He knew how to suffer and he knew how to worship. If he’d been the deist so many people have accused him of being, I wonder if such a cold and deterministic worldview would have given him the resolve he needed to keep fighting for liberation. I tend to think not.

Can you imagine yourself in Washington’s position? You’re facing opposition from among your own fellow countrymen. You’re facing the world’s most powerful military. You’re men are losing their will to fight. 

Would you keep fighting against all odds? Why? 

Train Hard. Train Smart. Learn and Be Inspired by Historic Men of Valor. Know What You’re Fighting For. Live Free.


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