The Washington Post does a expose’ on the nation’s first President that doesn’t quite fit with the grade school history books…
And it it IS scary about how little has change in the Republic after 200 years…
Seven years later, toward the end of his second term, he was so disliked that the House voted against adjourning for 30 minutes to wish him well on his birthday.
Nowadays, Washington’s birthday is officially recognized, but when he was alive, his legacy was very nearly ruined by his presidency. Historian Alexis Coe describes how and why in her new book, “You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington.”
It cannot be overstated how much Washington did not want to be president. Years before, he had been so excited to be general at the beginning of the Revolutionary War that he showed up to the Second Continental Congress in uniform. It wasn’t so with the presidency. When news of his election reached him in the spring of 1789, he told Henry Knox, “My movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied with feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution.”
“He had every reason to stay home as far as his personal preferences, what his wife wanted and his position in the world,” Coe recently told The Washington Post. “He had everything to lose by going into the presidency. And in some ways, he did.”
The first big problem was how frequently he was caught in the middle of infighting between the two nascent political parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. His Cabinet members were split between the two, and the infighting did not stay behind closed doors. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson funded a newspaper that criticized Washington’s every move, while Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton wrote under a pseudonym for a pro-Washington paper.
Long before MSNBC vs. Fox News, it was the National Gazette vs. the Gazette of the United States. “Neither publication bothered with the pretense of objectivity,” Coe writes. No articles “were fact-checked, and everything, including personal lives, was fair game.”
Although Washington never declared a party affiliation, only Federalists remained in his administration in his second term.
And that second term, which he had to be persuaded to even bother with, was when things got really bad….