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Saturday, July 26, 2008

George Washington - Part 2 of 5

Part 1

People that Follow this Leader
Washington left the army in 1758, but was encouraged to enter politics. From 1759 to 1774, Washington served in the House of Burgess. Washington wanted to keep ties with Britain, but with the ever growing restrictions on western expansion, and higher taxes that directly affected him as a land owner, Washington found it difficult to stay true to his home country. In June of 1775, Washington showed up in a military uniform at the newly assembled Second Continental Congress, signaling that he was prepared for the war. He was then appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.

On July 3, 1775, he took command of 14,000 undisciplined men. He had to train men that were “civilians,” that had never had military training before. He only took a few months to train them, while at the same time he was trying to acquire supplies, gun powder and equipment. Despite the lack of food, supplies, equipment and all the political bickering, he was able to transform them into a disciplined and determined military force. This showed great intelligence on Washington’s part, he had to find a way to solve the problem of training these men. It also showed the kind of confidence that he could instill in other people, that these men were not only able to be trained by Washington, but that they were willing to listen to him and do as he said. The Revolutionary War brought many conflicts to Washington. In order to deal with these conflicts, he analyzed the problems, identified common goals, values, assumptions and he then took action. Washington’s military leadership allowed him to adapt to the irregular situations that the military was placed in. His leadership kept the men in the army. People followed him because he gained their trust and then their cooperation. He set high standards and he lived by them. He believed in personal discipline, integrity, and considered it his duty to be of impeccable character. People knew he would not change just to fit the situation, like a chameleon changes its colors. People knew they could trust him, and that he respected them, and that they would be treated courteously. Because of his ways of dealing with his personnel, as well as his overall strategies during the conflicts, the war was successful and they were able to find victory.

Washington did not win many battles during his military career, but he served with honor and courage and he was determined. He had the trust and loyalty from his troops despite the many hardships they faced. It was for these reasons that once the Constitution was ratified by all colonies, Washington was unanimously voted in as the first president in 1789.

Manage Conflict
Washington used many different conflict styles such as negotiating with the Indians, using force during the French and Indian war, collaborating, and finding the best solution for all parties. When he took office as President, he changed his ways and started telling people to be kind, try to settle conflicts peacefully, and to have a nonviolent mind. One big obstacle Washington faced at this time was building an executive structure for all future Presidents to follow. He had to keep the nation from dividing. He also wanted to establish a commercial tie with Britain and for peace to be complete with them. This enraged some people, but he was able to accomplish this with a treaty called the Jay Treaty in 1794.

Continue to Part 3.

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