Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
TITLE: George Washington and Adversity
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The image of George Washington as the father of our nation invokes the image of a kind father with benevolence towards all. Yet it was his desire and belief that all men should live free that made him famous. George Washington’s character was shaped by hard experiences. His first jobs required him to be outside most of the time where he slept on the ground in all types of weather. He was no stranger to hardship and adversity. He rose through his profession as a soldier and then as a Virginia plantation owner before becoming the first president of the United States. He did all this with only an elementary formal education.
In colonial America, the colonies were dependent on the British for most of their manufactured goods and luxury items. The colonies were separate entities with conflicting needs. As an example, the needs of the colony in Georgia were different than the needs of the colony of Massachusetts. In fact the people that settled Georgia, Scotts and indentured servants, were different than the Pilgrims of Massachusetts. However, these different colonies were able to unite around a single cause. The movement to unify the colonies was directly experienced by George Washington. All the colonies wanted to obtain freedom from the tyranny of England.
During George Washington’s early 20’s, Governor Dinwiddie appointed him to be an officer in the Virginia militia. He trained his men into an elite fighting unit. During the French and Indian War George Washington fought alongside the British militia against the French and Indians. Although his men did the same work as the British regulars they received less pay because they weren’t British. All the men risked their lives equally and lived under the same commands. When George Washington applied for a position as an English Officer his submittal was rejected because he wasn’t British. George Washington took this as a direct insult.
After the French and Indian War, George Washington married an affluent woman named Martha D. Custis. With his wife and newly acquired wealth, he started to build Mount Vernon into a prominent plantation of several thousand acres. Since most of the trading from the colonies at that time was with England, George Washington followed suit. He sold his crops of tobacco and farm goods to English merchants in return for English manufactured goods. After several years, George Washington found himself in debt. Then he found he couldn’t get himself out of debt even though he had the money to pay off his debt. George Washington boiled at the injustice of doing business with the English.
While George Washington was feeling the injustice inflicted by the English so did everyone else who tried to do business with England. When the colonists became so provoked as to mention war George Washington was first in line to fight. He had suffered both in his military career and in his plantation at the hands of the English. He saw no option but to fight if was to live as a free man or English equal.
George Washington risked everything when he went to war against England. He led the continental army without any pay. If caught he would hang. If the Americans lost the war against England, he would lose all his land and wealth. He had no formal education on military tactics. He learned from first hand military experience in the wilds of the frontier and books on military maneuvers. Even though outnumbered and with minimal provisions he survived.
One of the amazing facts about George Washington’s military career was he was never wounded in battle. Even though his clothes were torn with bullet holes he was never touched. He was in the front line of some battles, an easy target, yet he remained unscratched. Many say this only occurred through God’s protecting grace.
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