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Friday, July 25, 2008

George Washington - Part 1 of 5

Recently I put up an article about how they found George Washington's boyhood home. I am currently in school full time going for my Bachelor's in business, and I had to write a paper on a great leader for my Leadership class. It was a group project and we chose George Washington. I thought I would share the paper here for you to read. I didn't know a whole lot about Washington before I started, and I found him to be very fascinating. This paper doesn't go so much into his history as it talks about his leadership qualities, but it's still very educational I believe. This paper was written by Alka, Sue, Rochelle, and me. I will post it in 5 parts since it is long. I hope you enjoy it!

Leadership of George Washington

We all know George Washington became the first President of the United States after his victory in the Revolutionary War, that he crossed the Delaware River standing at the bow of the row boat, and that his home was called Mount Vernon. But what made George Washington a great leader?

George Washington was born February 22, 1732, on a sizable plantation near Alexandria, VA. His early education included mathematics, surveying, the classics, and civility. He was always interested in educating himself. When Washington was 11 years old, his father died. He then went to live with his half brother, Lawrence, at his plantation called Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon was located in Alexandria, VA. When he was 20 years old, he was made a Major of the Virginia Militia by Governor Dinwiddie. The Virginia Militia fought for the British. George Washington was becoming a man and a leader during one of the most conflicted times in our history. During this time the Ohio territory was possessed by the English, but the French were starting to encroach on this area, wanting it for themselves. Governor Dinwiddie felt that action needed to be taken and he selected Washington for the job. Washington was very young at the time, so being selected for this very important job showed that even though he was just a follower right now, he easily showed the men around him that he had high dependability, courage, and efficiency.

In 1754, Washington led the expedition to Fort Duquesne, carrying a message from Governor Robert Dinwiddie to the French, warning them to leave the territory. One messenger had already attempted this journey, and had returned completely unsuccessful. Dinwiddie was now putting all of his faith in the young Washington, this was the kind of confidence that he exuded, that he was able to convince others that he would do the job and do it right. On the journey, Washington, his troops, and his American Indian allies ambushed a French scouting party that included about 30 men. During this ambush, Washington learned that the French were planning to further advance and that they had started to build a series of forts in the Ohio country. When Washington brought the message from Dinwiddie to the French commander, the French declined to leave.

Washington returned to Dinwiddie with the news, and he was sent back out. Washington spoke with the local Indians on his way out, and learned of a French detachment of about 40 men camping nearby. He then decided to surprise the French at their camp site, some were sleeping, and others were preparing breakfast. Without any warning Washington ordered his troops to fire. Many were killed, one was wounded, and the rest were taken as prisoners. This was the beginning of the French and Indian war. He tried to solve this dysfunctional conflict by communicating but since the French did not listen, he then decided to solve it his own way.

This early conflict showed us some of Washington’s leadership traits. We saw that he had self-confidence, so much so that other people believed in him even though he was very young. He showed us that he had High Energy; he was willing to work hard and had a real drive for success. He also showed his flexibility, when the situation with the French was not going the way he wanted, or the way he felt it should go, he went in a completely different direction to try and gain control back. These three traits were clear even before Washington was in a leadership role.

Continue on to Part 2.

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