National Jewels: Washington, Lincoln, and the Fathers of the Revolution

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Creative Media Partners, LLC, 2015 M09 19 - 134 páginas
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George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Va., on Feb. 22, 1732. His father died in 1743, and Washington went to live with his half brother Lawrence at Mount Vernon. He was appointed surveyor for Culpeper County in 1749. Washington's brother died in 1752 he ultimately inherited the Mount Vernon estate. Washington first gained public notice when, as adjutant of one of Virginia's four military districts, he was dispatched in October 1753 by Govenor Robert Dinwiddie on a fruitless mission to warn the French commander at Fort Le Boeuf against further encroachment on territory claimed by Britain. Discouraged by his defeat and angered by discrimination between British and colonial officers in rank and pay, he resigned his commission near the end of 1754. The next year, however, he volunteered to join British general Edward Braddock's expedition against the French. In 1755, at the age of 23, he was promoted to colonel and appointed commander in chief of the Virginia militia, with responsibility for defending the frontier. In 1758 he took an active part in Gen. John Forbes's successful campaign against Fort Duquesne. Assured that the Virginia frontier was safe from French attack, Washington left the army in 1758 and returned to Mount Vernon, directing his attention toward restoring his neglected estate. With the support of an ever-growing circle of influential friends, he entered politics, serving from 1759 to 1774 in Virginia's House of Burgesses. After 1769, Washington became a leader in Virginia's opposition to Great Britain's colonial policies. As a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congress, Washington did not participate actively in the deliberations. In June 1775 he was Congress's unanimous choice as commander in chief of the Continental forces. Washington took command of the troops surrounding British-occupied Boston on July 3, 1775. After the war, Washington returned to Mount Vernon. He became president of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of former Revolutionary War officersand in May 1787, Washington headed the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and was unanimously elected presiding officer. After the new Constitution was submitted to the states for ratification and became legally operative, he was unanimously elected president in 1789. Washington was reelected president in 1792. By March 1797, when Washington left office, the country's financial system was well established; the Indian threat east of the Mississippi had been largely eliminated; and Jay's Treaty and Pinckney's Treaty with Spain had enlarged U.S. territory and removed serious diplomatic difficulties. Although Washington reluctantly accepted command of the army in 1798 when war with France seemed imminent, he did not assume an active role. He preferred to spend his last years in happy retirement at Mount Vernon. In mid-December, Washington contracted an illness; he declined rapidly and died at his estate on Dec. 14, 1799.

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 - April 15, 1865) was the 16th president of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy. Lincoln was a self-educated lawyer in Illinois, a Whig Party leader and a state legislator in the 1830s. After a series of highly publicized debates in 1858, during which Lincoln spoke out against the expansion of slavery, he lost the U.S. Senate race to his archrival, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. In 1860, Lincoln secured a Republican Party presidential nomination. His presidential election resulted in seven southern slave states to form the Confederacy before he took the office on March 4, 1861. Lincoln is regarded by historians as one of the greatest United States presidents. During his term, he created the system of national banks with the National Banking Act. This provided a strong financial network in the country. It also established a national currency. In 1862, Congress created, with Lincoln's approval, the Department of Agriculture. Lincoln was able to appoint five Supreme Court justices during his time as president. He is largely responsible for instituting the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address of 1863 became an iconic statement of America's dedication to the principles of nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction. On April 15, 1865, six days after the surrender of Confederate commanding General Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was assassinated at the Ford Theater by John Wilkes Booth, a noted actor and Confederate spy from Maryland. Lincoln was married to Mary Todd Lincoln on November 4, 1842. They had four children, all boys. Only the oldest, Robert, survived to adulthood. After Lincoln's death, Robert committed his mother, Mary, for a short time. The death of their children had a profound effect on the mental health of both Lincoln and his wife.

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