The most important founding father

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Introduction

Many countries around the world look up to the influence that the United States has played in establishing independence through democratization and strict adherence to constitutionality. Apparently, the United States Constitution is the document that has since preserved the heritage of the American people, as Hopkin (2005) explains. Much has been said about the Constitution, with the key observation being that the document was a culmination of ideas from different people and articles such as the Declaration of Independence and the Article of Confederation.

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Founding Fathers refer to the people who made significant intellectual contributions to the establishment of the US democracy either through presiding over some articles or overseeing the drafting of the Constitution. Majority of the US Founding Fathers were picked from the Constitutional Convention, which presided over the ratification and implementation of the Constitution. For instance, James Madison and George Washington are remembered for their contribution in developing the Constitution, while others such as Thomas Jefferson are being remembered for writing the Declaration of Independence.

Across different studies, depending on the angle from which one approaches, there have been debates on who qualifies to be the most important Founding Father.  This paper is a personal account of the factors that persuade my belief into categorizing George Washington as the most significant founding father. To support my argument, the paper documents the activities that prove the value of George Washington’s role in relation to his contribution as a US Founding Father.

Discussion

Devoid of any objective statements, the indispensible nature of George Washington’s personality right from his childhood, through to the American Revolution qualifies him as the most valuable Founding Father of the US. Born in 1732 in Virginia, the early exposures of George Washington to the diversity of tobacco farmers shaped his opinion of independence, unity and togetherness.

One of the factors that led me into classifying George Washington as the most important Founding Father is his presidency. As most people know, George Washington was the first President of the United States. As Graebner, Burns and Siracusa (2011) documents, he held the position between 1789 and 1797. By virtue of being the first President of the United States, George Washington is frequently referred to as the father of the nation, as McIlroy (2005) explains that this tag was acquired owing to the vital role he played in the formation of the United States.

Prior to becoming a democracy, Hopkin (2005) writes, the US was a colony of the British. During the colonial period, most Native Americans were subjected to segregation, discrimination and harsh imposition of the British values. As Kutschera (2011) narrates, many of the locals were unhappy about the authority that the foreigners imposed on them, a factor that quelled widespread resentment.

Amidst all the disquiet, there was minimal leadership in the ranks of the locals, who were largely opposed to the colonial rule but had no courage to stand up and refute the rule. However, George Washington was able to orchestrate the famous American Revolution, being the commander-in-chief of the revolutionary forces that drove the British colonial forces out of Boston. George Washington, through his command of the American Army, instilled the culture of selflessness in military leadership, a virtue that is widely replicated in the modern day American Army.

Confrontation with foreign forces did not stop with his successful conquest over the British forces in Boston. George Washington, as Albertus and Menaldo (2012) recall, is credited with facilitating negotiations with the French who helped him to hold together the fragile and weak army amid growing pressures for retaliation from the British forces camp. The gesture by George Washington, in my opinion, was instrumental in determining the integration of the US during this fragile moment of its history.

The behavioral virtues exhibited by George Washington largely depict him as an ambitious leader. Upon his victory over the British in Boston, George Washington disappeared from the view of the public to his Mount Vernon tobacco plantation, a move that sparked different views. However, four years later in 1787, George Washington would resurface, this time imposing his influence in drafting the Constitution. Being President of the Philadelphia Convention, George Washington is accredited with replacing the Articles of Confederation.

The Unity of the United States is one of the fundamental achievements accredited to George Washington, Kutschera (2011) observes. During the period when the Constitution was developed, other people failed to support it. However, George Washington is viewed as a unifying factor, as his mere support of the document persuaded many states to adopt the Constitution. Upon the Constitution’s implementation, George Washington’s influence was one again demonstrated as he was elected the US President in 1789, becoming the country’s first President.

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During his stint at the Presidency, George Washington established structures and protocols that dictated the operations of the executive department of the government. At the back of his mind, George Washington wanted to establish a nation that could overcome the French and British wars. Consequently, George Washington orchestrated the Proclamation of Neutrality, which dictates that the US shall not be involved in conflicts pitting foreign nations.

The strict adherence that George Washington exhibited towards the principle of Separation of Powers designates him as the most important Founding Father, as he never abused his presidential powers despite the influence he enjoyed across the country. Administratively, George Washington is accredited for setting up the comprehensive tax collection system which enabled the United States to develop its infrastructure. As President, George Washington rallied behind the establishment of the national bank; an institution that represented the pinnacle of accountability as the country gradually reduced its debts and emerged economically strong during his leadership.

Conclusion

The ability of a person to acquire influence and use it effectively is a determining factor when describing the Founding Fathers of the United States. Despite the severe opposition he faced as the First US President, George Washington remains my most important Founding Father, as I view him as the main liberator of the US against the British colonial rule. The spirit of independence, peace and unity that are the cornerstone of the US Constitution were well established by the George Washington presidency.

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  1. Albertus, M. & Menaldo, V. (2012). Dictators as Founding Fathers? The Role of Constitutions Under Autocracy. SSRN Electronic Journal8(3). doi:10.2139/ssrn.1794281
  2. Graebner, N., Burns, R., & Siracusa, J. (2011). Foreign affairs and the founding fathers (1st ed.). Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO.
  3. Hopkin, M. (2005). Americas had seventy ‘founding fathers’. American History32(8).
  4. Kutschera, U. (2011). Founding fathers: The cell was defined 150 years ago. Nature480(7378), 457-457.
  5. McIlroy, J. (2005). Founding Fathers. Labour History Review70(2), 231-237.
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