A few years ago I read Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. It was a thrilling read, a page turner, genuinely exciting – I credited the author with that; now I know it was because Hamilton was exciting. Because I am now reading Chernow’s biography of, ahem, George Washington.
Chernow’s account confirms what we’ve always known about George – he was no Alexander Hamilton. Washington was a singularly un-exciting person, as methodical in his days as a well wound clock. I’ve only gotten to
1860 1760 but I will stay with it – in the hope that things pick up around 1776.
Boring yes, but very principled – I doubt he’d make it in today’s political and media climate. I just came across this passage which would doom him were he to reappear amongst us for another shot at the top job.
” . . . the exemplary nature of Washington’s religious tolerance. He shuddered at the notion of exploiting religion for partisan purposes or showing favoritism for any religious denomination. . . . When he needed to hire a carpenter and a bricklayer for Mount Vernon, he stated that ‘if they are good workmen, they may be Mohamatens, Jews or Christians . . . even atheists.“