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George Washington - David O. Stewart 


David O. Stewart - George Washington, The Political Rise of America's Founding Father.


Amazon #1 Bestseller

History Prize, Society of the Cincinnati


"[A]n outstanding biography that both avoids hagiography and acknowledges the

greatness of Washington's character. . . Mr. Stewart's writing is clear, often superlative,

his judgments are nuanced, and the whole has a narrative drive such a life deserves." Wall Street Journal


Selected works:

Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America

American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America

The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution

Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy

The Lincoln Deception

The Paris Deception

The Babe Ruth Deception

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Episode #1

Q: George Washington – David O. Stewart – Introduction


  • An attorney who practiced law

  • Starting writing history

  • Madison, Burr, Andrew Johnson

  • Always asked who was the most important Founding Father

  • Decided I needed to write about George Washington

  • Focused on the political life of Washington

Episode #2

Q: What are some of the Washington Myths?


  • Things came to Washington effortlessly – not true

  • He was rich – not true

  • He was a natural leader – not true

  • Much self-improvement & self-learning

Episode #3

Q: How did the early frontier years impact Washington?


  • Positive side – it brought him fame

  • Not many American born military commanders

  • But many negatives

  • Indian fighters were much better

  • His men suffered in the wars

  • He alienated his superiors

  • But learned and changed

Episode #4

Q: What Was Washington’s Self Reinvention?


  • He pivots away from a military career

  • Looks to develop Mt. Vernon plantation

  • Marries a rich woman - Martha Custis

  • Builds a base for political career

  • Joins Virginia political legislature

Episode #5

Q: What Were Washington’s Key Political Skills?


  • Great self-confidence

  • Hard working & determined

  • Not a great orator

  • But had what we call today, charisma

  • Also, got things done

  • “Let George Do It” 

Episode #6

Q: What was Washington’s Key Military Skill?


  • Used political skill to military advantage

  • Not a great tactician

  • Military historians criticize his battles

  • Dealt well with logistics, supplies, manpower

  • Understood that strategic goal was to outlast the British

  • And he won!

Episode #7

Q: Was Washington anti-Slavery?


  • Important to be open & candid about Washington and slavery

  • Part of Virginia’s plantation slave owner class

  • Change of view during the war

  • Impressed by service of African American soldiers

  • Resolved to be a “good slave owner”

  • Complicated record of freeing slaves

  • Mixed legacy

Episode #8

Q: What was Washington’s Political Philosophy?


  • Believer in self-government

  • Advocate of representative government

  • People have natural rights – Bill of Rights

  • Proponent of liberty

  • Walked away from presidency

Episode #9

Q: Did the Hebrew Bible Influence Washington?


  • Washington had a religious Protestant upbringing

  • Would have known the Hebrew Bible

  • Referenced Providence, Greater Power

  • Touro Synagogue visit reassured American Jewry

  • Believed in religious freedom

  • But no specific Biblical references

  • No use of Biblical imagery

  • Was a secular figure

Episode #10

Q: How was Washington’s Touro Synagogue Visit Received by Americans?


  • Do not see much of a response in general population

  • Religious leaders welcomed it

  • Washington, while an Anglican, had no religious preferences

  • Before Presidency, visited various religions in Philadelphia

  • Had a spiritual side

  • Was not dogmatic

Episode #11

Q: Why Study the Life of Washington?


  • Problems then were also acute

  • Importance of social order, freedom

  • Washington should resonate today

  • He took control of his life

  • Became a great model

  • Have not had a leader like him

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Full Interview - David O. Stewart 

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