Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Or it's hard to type while you're either reading seven hundred plus page brick (Washington A Life) or keep your faded trade paperback (Miracle at Philadelphia) from falling apart. Hard to believe we're still arguing over the same things over two hundred years later. Even most of the participants admitted it was the best document they could come up with at the time given all the horsetrading, compromising and arguing that went on. Note to guys like Scalia, I believe our "founding fathers" would be surprised to find their patchwork quilt being treated like Holy Writ. "Hey, we did the best we could do at the time.If you can do better go for it."

The bio on Washington is good. Incredibly detailed, but good. This isn't Parson Weems plaster saint, but a far more interesting, sometimes conflicted man. Quiet, most of the time. Dignified, most of the time. Overshadowed perhaps by the likes of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and a lot more radical as the revolution gained speed than most of us realized. One of the straws that bent the camel's back. Ordering products from England, paying top prices and getting crap in return.

By 1770 he was out of the tobacco business. Just wasn't worth it, prices fluctuated too much. Grew what and corn. Shipped grain and flour to England. Flour ground in his won mill and when the mill wasn't grinding his grain it was grinding other folks, for a fee of course. Went into the fishing business on the Potomac Other mercantile irritation? The best salt for curing fish came from Portugal, but that market was closed. Had to buy from England. Martha Washington supervised the weaving of the cloth for the clothing provided for their slaves.

Yes, he owned slaves. Inherited, purchased and acquired by marriage. By the standards of the times he had the rep as a fairly decent master. And his views on the practice change somewhat over time. But, he was a wealthy Virginia plantation owner with all the privileges and baggage that went with it. Heck I'm only on page two hundred or so. The Americans have just chased the Brits out of Boston. There's a long way to go, what with a shortage of gun powder, one years enlistments and all.

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