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How General Washington and his Spectacles Saved the Republic

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posted on Jan, 23 2014 @ 08:28 PM
The one area of history that has always fascinated me is the American Revolution. The risks that were taken by our forefather's to found this great nation were immense. Every man that signed the Declaration of Independence knew, without a doubt, they were signing their own death warrants. One of the most amazing stories of leadership is the story of Washington and his reading glasses. Far too few people have ever heard this story. It is a long-ish read, so I shall paraphrase for the lazy

Following the war, Congress had failed miserably to pay Washington's officers, and a military coup was not out of the question. They were hostile, to say the least. Gen. Gates and many of Washington's officers had begun plotting a coup; they became known as the Newburgh Conspirators. He addressed his officers, and was not very well received. Washington then did something so small, but so unbelievable (in that day) that the entire conspiracy collapsed; his men then re-pledged their loyalty.

Following his address Washington studied the faces of his audience. He could see that they were still confused, uncertain, not quite appreciating or comprehending what he had tried to impart in his speech. With a sigh, he removed from his pocket a letter and announced it was from a member of Congress, and that he now wished to read it to them. He produced the letter, gazed upon it, manipulated it without speaking. What was wrong, some of the men wondered. Why did he delay? Washington now reached into a pocket and brought out a pair of new reading glasses. Only those nearest to him knew he lately required them, and he had never worn them in public. Then he spoke: "Gentlemen, you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country." This simple act and statement by their venerated commander, coupled with remembrances of battles and privations shared together with him, and their sense of shame at their present approach to the threshold of treason, was more effective than the most eloquent oratory. As he read the letter to their unlistening ears, many were in tears from the recollections and emotions which flooded their memories. As Maj. Samuel Shaw, who was present, put it in his journal, " There was something so natural, so unaffected in this appeal as rendered it superior to the most studied oratory. It forced its way to the heart, and you might see sensibility moisten every eye."

Washington was an incredible leader and had an eloquence of speech that few today possess. To use the simple gesture of just being human... amazing. The link to the full story: Link

posted on Jan, 23 2014 @ 10:46 PM
reply to post by madmac5150

Not to diminish his oratorical prowess, but he probably just spoke in plain English and told the truth. The people that followed him to battle knew he wasn't just giving them a line of BS. They knew the man and his integrity. Now if the leaders of today could manage just a small portion of that, we'd all be better for it, no matter what dire consequences face us all.

posted on Jan, 23 2014 @ 10:53 PM
reply to post by Bilk22

It is sad how much of that history is starting to vanish from the textbooks... it is a sad day when government chooses to erase its revolutionary past, but that is a rant for some other thread. I wonder if they know that they could never measure up to a man with that kind of character...

posted on Jan, 23 2014 @ 11:12 PM
I didn't recall the story when I read the title, but I remember as I started reading. Great story. I personally feel that the majority of Americans do not comprehend, and do not care to be honest, the sacrifices that were made to create out country. And you are absolutely right that these men were signing their death warrants. There was not even much of an inkling that they could beat Britain in an all out war, but that is how strongly they felt. People sometimes say that their motives were not as pure as freedom and liberty, but what other motives would these men have been willing to die for?

Personal gain? Some of the men, like Washington himself, were in no way waging an unwinnable war for personal gain, because they were already wealthy. In fact, the war nearly bankrupted them. If they were out for personal gain, they would have never gotten involved in such a risky plot; a plot that would have cost them more than all their wealth. They would have continued to make money under British rule, plain and simple.

Some of the taxes did hurt merchants and whatnot, but that is not reason enough to risk your life so that MAYBE you can make a little more money, while at the same time risking your neck. It is an absurd proposition in my opinion.

So these men made sacrifices, and were in fact putting their lives on the line. Then there were the men who put their lives on the line in same way, but who also risked their lives in battle. So think about how proud of their beliefs they were. Think of all the sacrifices, and what they fought to establish. And now think about what America looks like today. Those freedoms that many died for, and others bled for, not to mention the other ill-effects of the war, are the same freedoms that are in jeopardy today. The Constitution of the USA does not mean as much to most today as it meant to those men, and women as well, some of whom took the same risks as the men.

And it is not about democrat or republican, as BOTh of these parties has equally run this country into the ground, and I could cite numerous examples of this from modern times. People tend to divide themselves along the lines of two different parties, thinking they are living under a democratic government, but apparently failing to realize the irony in the fact that there are only two parties. We don't have a choice when it comes to our public officials, simply because the country has become so corrputed due to capitalism and lax regulations that those with all the money are the ones truly making the big decisions. It may look like the Bush or Obama did this or that, and maybe on occasion they did. But there is influence and money coming from all directions when you're in a position like that.

You know what the main difference is between the left and the right? At least that I have seen, and can point to. It is that the concentration of wealth in the hands of a select few increases when the right is in charge, while money gets distributed more when the left is in charge. In some instances it is subtle. Take Bush's presidency for instance. He lied to take us to war in Iraq. This is a fact that has been established. They knew there were no WMD's, yet used that as an excuse to sell the war to the public. And why was this? Well, maybe I can't say for sure, but I know that a whole lot of money was made those who were already wealthy. And surprise surprise, a lot of that money is government money. Your tax dollars. Those who are in the government make sure that the rich, those with INFLUENCE, are the ones who get the govenment contracts that are paid for by our tax dollars.

So for those who want to compalin about the left giving money away, or whatever absurd arguments that are used, I would much rather see that money given away to regular citizens, the lower and middle classes, as opposed to see it go to the top 1%, and those who are already wealthy. I can assure you that it is not the lower classes who are stealing tax dollars by these schemes, which should be illegal, but aren't. It is those who are already rich. But much of the time these super-wealthy people do not want others to know that they have a controlling interest in a company. But they do. Most people don't pay attention to that kind of stuff.

So while the right thinks they are doing something "good" by keeping the left from receiving welfare money and other benefits, the truth is that this is much better than having it go to the wealthy, which it will, in a roundabout way. The lower and middle classes will reinfuse that money into the economy, while the uber-wealthy will send the money into offshore banks, and basically few benefits will come back to the country. And if they do, they don't end up making their way back to the lower or middle classes, because the filthy rich don't live normal lives like everyone else, and don't spend money in the same places that regular people do. And contrary to popular belief, they are not reinfusing that money through employment. Some do, but that is for another thread. I've already gotten way off topic. Sorry for that OP.

posted on Jan, 24 2014 @ 02:45 PM
reply to post by JiggyPotamus

You made this into a stupid political argument where there was none. Your right and left is over. Get it? It's over! They're the same. Your liberal friends in DC are the same as the conservatives you despise and in many cases are worse - abusing power and targeting individuals because of their political leanings. And, there has never been more downward pressure on the lower and middle class and more power and wealth concentrated into fewer hands, than what's occurring under this administration, which is supposed to be the most liberal ever.

So forget what you think you know and/or want to believe about either side. None, that's NONE, have integrity and NONE are serving the people any longer. They serve themselves and those who financed their campaigns. They exist to run again and base their choices on getting re-elected not on what's right. They all operate in fear on many levels. From what or whom? I have no idea. But it's clear they are fearful or they would act as we can all clearly see the problems. Why can't they?

posted on Jan, 28 2014 @ 03:20 PM
I really did not intend this thread to argue ideology. I thought the beauty of the story was just one man's gesture of being human... a simple gesture that very much changed the mood of his detractors and possibly saved this Republic in its infancy...

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