The Great Experiment
Foreword by Gordon S. Wood. To most Americans, George Washington is a remote figure encased in myth, more a monument than a man. This new book brings him vividly to life once again - a man who was born a loyal subject of the British crown and became the leader of a radical revolution, a victorious military leader who relinquished the trappings of power to return to farming, a reluctant statesman who forged the institutions of a popular government that have endured for two centuries. John Rhodehamel examines the mingled destinies of Washington and the new American republic, illuminating both the man and his times. He traces Washington's life before the Revolution and during the war years, the drafting and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and the Washington presidency, arguing that the key to Washington's extraordinary stature in the eyes of his contemporaries was his scrupulous obedience to civilian authority and, most of all, his resignation at the end of the Revolution. The text is enhanced by numerous illustrations that reproduce an array of original documents, contemporary portraits, artifacts, and personal memorabilia of Washington and his family. This book is the catalogue for an exhibition that opens at the Huntington Library in Los Angeles in October 1998 and moves on to the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City in September 1999. John Rhodehamel is Norris Foundation Curator of American History at the Huntington Library. He is the editor of the award-winning book George Washington, Writings.