Untitled Document

The Dignity of Leadership from Washington to Lincoln

John Adams, America's first vice president, strongly supported the use of extravagant titles proposing in 1789 that the nation's chief executive be called "His Highness the President of the United States of America and Proctor of Their Liberties." Although he believed such at title would help convey dignity to its occupant, dignity was not a virtue associated with Adams. He could be brusque, ornery, pompous, stuffy and touchy - although the perception of dignity was actually something the nation's first vice president greatly valued. More than two decades earlier, Adams had written: "There must be a Decency, and Respect, and Veneration introduced for Persons in Authority, of every Rank, or We are undone."1

John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress when independence was declared in 1776, was too egotistical to be truly dignified. Benjamin Franklin's love of food, company, and wine certainly would not have qualified for Adams' definition of dignity though Franklin's rustic simplicity was appreciated by the sophisticated French. Alexander Hamilton, the nation's first secretary of the treasury, was too hot-blooded to be defined as dignified, although he certainly had his dignified moments. The nation's first chief justice, John Jay, was more stuffy than dignified.

The nation's first secretary of state, Thomas Jefferson, was often more aloof than dignified, but he adopted a code of social conduct as President that scandalized the British ambassador. Jefferson's Virginia nemesis and the nation's fourth chief justice, John Marshall, embraced tastes and amusements which were too plebeian to be described as dignified - especially by Jefferson, who criticized Marshall's "lax lounging manners."2 The first leader of the House of Representatives, James Madison, was more shy than dignified. The Swiss-born Albert Gallatin who followed Madison as a leader of the House and late followed Alexander Hamilton as treasury secretary was said to pride himself on his own lack of dignity. George Mason, George Washington's Virginia neighbor who was the intellectual father of the Bill of Rights, was too much of a recluse to be described as dignified.

The one Founder who exemplified dignity in all its aspects was George Washington. In 1776, future President James Monroe described future President Washington: "A deportment so firm, so dignified, but yet so modest and composed, I have never seen in any other person."3 Unquestionably, there was a reserve about the man. Englishman Edward Thornton wrote of President Washington in 1792: "In his air and manner he displays much natural dignity, in his address he is cold, reserved and even phlegmatic, though without the least appearance of haughtiness and ill nature; it is the effect I imagine of constitutional diffidence."4 Madison recalled: "Washington was not fluent or ready in conversation, and was inclined to be taciturn in general society. In the company of two or three intimate friends, however, he was talkative, and when a little excited was sometimes fluent and even eloquent. The story so often repeated of his never laughing...is wholly untrue; no man seemed more to enjoy gay conversation, though he took little part in it himself. He was particularly pleased with the jokes, good humor, and hilarity of his companions."5 Historian John E. Ferling wrote that Washington "simply was not a loquacious person. Through his youthful experiences in the company of urbane men like Lawrence [Washington] and the Fairfaxes, he had developed the custom of listening, pondering, but rarely expressing himself, so that if he did speak his utterance reflected his carefully considered best judgment."6

Biographer Henry Cabot Lodge wrote: "Washington cared as little for vain shows as any man who ever lived, but he had the highest sense of personal dignity, and of the dignity of his cause and country. Neither should be allowed to suffer in his bands. He appreciated the effect on mankind of forms and titles, and with unerring judgment he insisted on what he knew to be of real value. It is one of the earliest examples of the dignity and good taste which were of such inestimable value to his country."7 Lodge was both a biographer and a politician. More than a century later similar thoughts were reported in the New York Times. "Washington absorbed, and later came to personify what you might call the dignity code. The code was based on the same premise as the nation's Constitution - that human beings are flawed creatures who live in constant peril of falling into disasters caused by their own passions. Artificial systems have to be created to balance and restrain their desires," wrote journalist David Brooks. "The dignity code commanded its followers to be disinterested - to endeavor to put national interests above personal interests. It commanded its followers to be reticent - to never degrade intimate emotions by parading them in public. It also commanded its followers to be dispassionate - to distrust rashness, zealotry, fury and political enthusiasm."8

Washington's regal reserve was obvious. Washington's great biographer, Douglas Southall Freeman, wrote: "Everything about him suggested the commander - height, bearing, flawless proportions, dignity of person, composure, and ability to create confidence by calmness and by unfailing, courteous dignity."9 Historian Albert J. Beveridge wrote: "All who met George Washington in his mature years were impressed by his correct if restricted language, his courtly conduct, and his dignified if rigid bearing. Much of this was due to his noble patron," Lord George William Fairfax, whose manners and conduct young Washington consciously emulated.10 Washington early built his life on a series of social and personal rules derived from a European model. Scholar Marcus Cunliffe wrote: "In the predominant nineteenth-century picture, Washington embodied not only modesty and integrity, but dignity and poise. He was and in legend looked the part of officer-and-gentleman. Literally as well as figuratively, his was a commanding presence."11 Such command did not come easily; General Washington worked at it on a daily basis. Biographer James Thomas Flexner noted: "At the end of every meal, Washington drank individually the health of everyone present and then always announced the same final toast, 'To all our friends!'"12

George Washington possessed many leadership gifts, but one in particular was highlighted by John Adams, who said Washington had "the gift of silence." He knew better than to talk about things he did not know or engage in conversation with those who did not appreciate what he did. Historian Fritz Hirschfeld wrote: "Washington has been regarded by his contemporaries, as well as by historians and biographers of later generations, as a pillar of moral rectitude and integrity. The highest of standards also applied to those who moved within his immediate vicinity, and certainly to the invited guests who partook of his hospitality at Mount Vernon. Indeed, one visitor, in a sarcastic and titillating aside to a fellow New Yorker and former Revolutionary War comrade, revealed his impatience with the conventional hospitality being offered by his Mount Vernon host: "Here we are, three meals a day and a quadrille at night - The Great Man retiring to his study after breakfast, and we to our room."13

Washington's friends and admirers were legion in part because he managed his image well. Historian Garry Wills wrote: "During the early struggles of the nation, Washington was himself the unifying icon, the symbol of the whole process. He had to replace his own glamour with the more impersonal symbols of power - the Constitution, the flag, the officers of government, the courts. He learned an elaborate language of tact and protocol, receiving respect because of his office, not his person. He stripped away as soon as possible all emblems of his military glory."14 One Philadelphia resident observed that "President Washington is an unassuming, easy and social man, beloved by every person."15 Washington was detached and reserved, but not unfriendly. Abigail Adams wrote of Washington that "the Gentleman and Soldier look agreeably blended in him."16 She wrote of Washington: "He is polite with dignity, affable without formality, distant without haughtiness, grave without austerity, modest, wise, and good. These are traits in his character which peculiarly fit him for the exalted station he holds, and God grant that he may hold it with the same applause and universal satisfaction for many, many years, as it is my firm opinion that no other man could rule over this great people and consolidate them into one mighty empire but he who is set over us."17

Washington was never a complainer. He became a Stoic as a young man. Washington chronicler Joel Achenbach wrote of an early escape from French and Indians in Pennsylvania: "The most astonishing part of this little adventure is that when Washington wrote up the story, he made only the most passing reference to being cold ('The Cold was so extremely severe, that Mr. Gist had all his Fingers, and some of his Toes Froze.') He did not even say that he was cold, only that Gist was cold and had frostbite. And he didn't indicate any fear...he would never write something as irrelevant as 'I was cold.' Report the relevant data, then move onward - that was the Washington style."18 Washington's stoic and modest dignity was essential to the trust that the Second Continental Congress placed in him in 1775 when they selected him to command the Continental Army. Historian John Ferling wrote: "The qualities that Washington exhibited might easily have been detrimental to his ambitions. To give over command of an army to a strong, charismatic, dignified, imposing man was to risk giving the general all that was required to become a tyrant, or a king. But Adams and his colleagues had assayed Washington's character. Washington, they were convinced, was a committed republican who understood and believed that civilian jurisdiction must hold sway over the commander and his army. 'His views,' as Adams put it, 'are noble and disinterested.''"19 In response to his appointment as commander in chief of the colonial army, Washington said: "Tho' I am truly sensible of the high Honour done me in this Appointment, yet I feel great distress from a consciousness that my abilities and Military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important Trust: However, as the Congress desire it, I will never upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I Possess In their Service for the Support of the glorious Cause."20 Historian Edmund S. Morgan observed: "In accepting command of the as yet nonexistent Continental Army in June 1775, Washington staked his honor on defeating in battle the world's greatest military and naval power. And he staked it on behalf of a nation that was also as yet nonexistent."21

"Modesty proved to be an enduring feature of Washington's personal makeup." Historian Barry Schwartz wrote: "George Washington was able to maintain a sober and restrained conception of himself, a 'mean betwixt extremes,' despite the extreme adulation that engulfed him."22 In Washington, dignity and modesty were mixed in careful proportion. Biographer Douglas Southall Freeman wrote that the trauma of the Revolution "presented no temptation for Washington to exalt himself - and neither did they have contrary effect. There was nothing self-deprecatory about him, then or thereafter."23

The story is famously told of an ill-executed attempt by Gouverneur Morris at familiarity. As Morris himself reportedly told the story, "The President was standing with his arms behind him - his usual position - his back to the fire. I started up and spoke, stamping, as I walked up and down, with my wooden leg, and, as I was certain I had the best of the argument, as I finished I stalked up to the President, slapped him on the back, and said, 'Ain't I right, General?' The President did not speak, but the majesty of the American people was before me. Oh, his look! How I wished the floor would open and I could descend to the cellar! You know me, and you know my eye would never quail before any other mortal."24

Historian Edmund S. Morgan wrote that "respect, in Washington's view, could not be won by familiarity. Familiarity bred contempt, whether in slaves or in soldiers. Washington described the posture that he himself strove for in a letter of advice to a newly fledged colonel in the Continental Army. 'Be easy and condescending in your deportment to your officers, but not too familiar, lest you subject yourself to a want of that respect, which is necessary to support a proper command.'"25 Biographer Ron Chernow wrote "that Washington's "reserve was further reinforced by a view of military leadership that frowned on camaraderie. Abigail Adams made the insightful comment that Washington 'has a dignity which forbids familiarity mixed with an easy affability which creates love and reverence.' Washington's officers admired him, but with the slightest touch of fear."26 Historian Barry Schwartz wrote: "As father, friend, and servant, Washington was a personification of that complex standard to which Americans held their leaders. To be in certain respects superior to the people, in other respects their equal, and in yet another way subordinate to them, was the combination that unlocked the people's hearts."27 At Newburgh in March 1783, General Washington warned Continental Army officers on the brink of revolt against the Continental Congress that "you will, by the dignity of your Conduct, afford occasion for Posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to Mankind, had this day been wanting, the World had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining."28

Historian Dixon Wecter noted that Washington's "best friends - the Fairfaxes of his youth, Doctor James Craik and Benjamin Harrison in his middle age, Lafayette, Tilghman, Humphreys, and Alexander Hamilton as the protégés of his riper years - were men who shared something of Washington's personal reticence. More casual acquaintances he held at arm's length. Virtually nobody dared call him George, up to the debunking biographers of the twentieth century."29 Historian Edmund S. Morgan wrote: "Washington practiced what he preached, and as his talents for command developed there were fewer and fewer persons with whom he could allow himself to be familiar. As commander in chief and later as president, he could scarcely afford it with anyone. The remoteness that still surrounds him was a necessary adjunct of the power he was called upon to exercise."30 Morgan noted: "Even his close friends took care to keep their distance, and those who forgot to were apt to be brought up sharp."31 Morgan wrote that Washington's aloofness "may have grown around a nucleus of inborn native reserve, but Washington purposely cultivated it. We should not mistake it for arrogance. Washington did crave honor and pursued it relentlessly, but he did not deceive himself with that spurious substitute for honor, which is arrogance. His aloofness had nothing to do with arrogance. It had to do with command."32

Washington liked laughter, but he was no humorist. British historian Marcus Cunliffe observed: "Gentlemen, in Washington's and in Lincoln's time, did not indulge in colloquialisms or other familiarities. Geniality was approved on appropriate occasions, but not vulgar jocosity. Wit as an attribute of cultivation was desirable: humor, in the sense of cracking jokes, was not. Indeed, suspicion of levity among public men lingered on until after Lincoln's demise."33 Washington lacked, however, Abraham Lincoln's innate sense of irony and the ridiculousness of the human condition. Historian Douglas Southall Freeman wrote that Washington "had no spontaneous sense of humor and when he occasionally indulged a laugh it was over a bit of horseplay or some ludicrous harmless accident."34 Lincoln on the other hand exalted in the comedy of everyday life. When fellow lawyers took up a collection to buy a new set of trousers for a lawyer whose backside was torn, Lincoln refused, saying "I can contribute noting to the end in view."35 Such levity would have been foreign to Washington's character.

According to Abigail Adams, Washington was "polite with dignity, affable without familiarity, distant without haughtiness, grave without austerity, modest, wise, and good."36 A visiting Polish noble commented on first seeing the retired President Washington: "His is a majestic figure in which dignity and gentleness are united. These are traits in his character which peculiarly fit him for the exalted station he holds, and god grant that he may hold it with the same applause and universal satisfaction for many, many years, as it is my firm opinion that no other man could rule over this great people and consolidate them into one mighty empire but he who is set over us."37 The same Polish noble noted of Washington: "I have often heard the general reproached for his reserve and his taciturnity. It is true that he is somewhat reserved in speech, but he does not avoid entering into conversation when one furnishes him with a subject."38 A prominent British engineer who visited Mount Vernon observed that the former President "has something uncommonly majestic and commanding in his walk, his address, his figure, and his countenance. His face is characterized, however, more by intense and powerful thought than by quick and fiery conception. There is a mildness about its expression, and an air of reserve in his manner lowers its tone still more..."39

In 1783, Washington wrote the Marquis de Lafayette: "We now stand an independent people and have yet to learn political tactics...the probability, at least I fear it is, that local or state politics will interfere too much with that more liberal and extensive plan of government which wisdom and foresight, freed from the mist of prejudice, would dictate.'"40 In the last decade of Washington's life, however, Washington's dignity sometimes placed himself at crosscurrents with his emerging nation. The nitty gritty of American politics - as developed by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in public newspaper squabbles during his first Administration - very much disturbed President Washington. Washington wrote Hamilton: "But is not the dignity and even decency of government committed when one of its principal Ministers enlists himself as an anonymous writer or paragraphist for either the one or the other of them?"41 Washington was used to rising to the occasion and was disturbed when others did not. Partisanship did not ennoble men in Washington's view. As he said in his Farewell Address, "the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it."42 Thomas Jefferson did not understand his fellow Virginian. Historian Merrill D. Peterson wrote: "The President, Jefferson thought, was more the victim than the agent of these follies. Washington was used to adulation, of course, expected it, and naturally took an interest in the forms and ceremonies befitting his high office. He had himself become a ceremony - and perhaps the presidency was little more. The honor he felt in his own person reinforced his sense of the respectability owing to the chief of state. It scarcely occurred to him that an elegant state carriage, drawn by six white horses, smartly attended by liveried servants and outriders, ruffled republican sensibilities."43

Even Jefferson, however, who criticized Washington's leadership, saw his dignity and character. "I think I knew General Washington intimately and thoroughly; and were I called on to delineate his character, it should be in terms like these," Thomas Jefferson wrote in a critical evaluation in 1814: "His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, though, not so acute as that of a Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion. Hence the common remark of his officers, of the advantage he derived from councils of war, where hearing all suggestions, he selected whatever was best; and certainly no General ever planned his battles more judiciously. But if deranged during the course of the action, if any member of his plan was dislocated by sudden circumstance, he was slow in re-adjustment. The consequence was, that he often failed in the field, and rarely against an enemy in station, as at Boston and York. He was incapable of fear, meeting personal dangers with the calmest unconcern. Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. He was, indeed, in every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man. His temper was naturally high toned; but reflection and resolution had obtained a firm and habitual ascendency over it. If ever, however, it broke its bonds, he was most tremendous in his wrath. In his expenses he was honorable, but exact; liberal in contributions to whatever promised utility; but frowning and unyielding on all visionary projects and all unworthy calls on his charity. His heart was not warm in its affections; but he exactly calculated every man's value, and gave him a solid esteem proportioned to it. His person, you know, was fine, his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, erect and noble; the best horseman of his age, and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback. Although in the circle of his friends, where he might be unreserved with safety, he took a free share in conversation, his colloquial talents were not above mediocrity, possessing neither copiousness of ideas, nor fluency of words....On the whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect, in nothing bad, in few points indifferent; and it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great, and to place him in the same constellation with whatever worthies have merited from man an everlasting remembrance. For his was the singular destiny and merit, of leading the armies of his country successfully through an arduous war, for the establishment of its independence; of conducting its councils through the birth of a government, new in its forms and principles, until it had settled down into a quiet and orderly train; and of scrupulously obeying the laws through the whole of his career, civil and military, of which the history of the world furnishes no other example." Jefferson wrote went implicitly to blame New Yorkers Hamilton and Jay for the Jay Treaty of 1795 with Britain. Jefferson wrote:

How, then, can it be perilous for you to take such a man on your shoulders? I am satisfied the great body of republicans think of him as I do. We were, indeed, dissatisfied with him on his ratification of the British treaty. But this was short lived. We knew his honesty, the wiles with which he was encompassed, and that age had already begun to relax the firmness of his purposes; and I am convinced he is more deeply seated in the love and gratitude of the republicans, than in the Pharisaical homage of the federal monarchists. For he was no monarchist from preference of his judgment. The soundness of that gave him correct views of the rights of man, and his severe justice devoted him to them. He has often declared to me that he considered our new constitution as an experiment on the practicability of republican government, and with what dose of liberty man could be trusted for his own good; that he was determined the experiment should have a fair trial, and would lose the last drop of his blood in support of it. And these declarations he repeated to me the oftener and more pointedly, because he knew my suspicions of Colonel Hamilton's views, and probably had heard from him the same declarations which I had, to wit, "that the British constitution, with its unequal representation, corruption and other existing abuses, was the most perfect government which had ever been established on earth, and that a reformation of those abuses would make it an impracticable government." I do believe that General Washington had not a firm confidence in the durability of our government. He was naturally distrustful of men, and inclined to gloomy apprehensions; and I was ever persuaded that a belief that we must at length end in something like a British constitution, had some weight in his adoption of the ceremonies of levees, birth-days, pompous meetings with Congress, and other forms of the same character, calculated to prepare us gradually for a change which he believed possible, and to let it come on with as little shock as might be to the public mind.44

Washington was pleasant without being convivial. The gift of dignity was extended to Washington's subordinates during the American Revolution. Historian Walter A. McDougall wrote that at the First Continental Congress, Washington "socialized with delegates from all over, paid special attention to those from the middle colonies and New England, and modestly confirmed tales of his adventures in the French and Indian wars. He was reserved but in no way aloof, and was pleased to propose a toast, share in a song, or buy a round of drinks in the City Tavern."45 As the commander of the Continental Army, Washington understood that he had a large and varied constituency and he sought to appeal to them all. Historian David Hackett Fischer wrote: "This gentleman of Virginia was learning to treat a brigade of New England Yankee farmboys and fishermen as men of honor, who were entitled to equality of esteem. That attitude had already begun to spread throughout the army. In 1776, American officers addressed even their lowliest privates as gentlemen....Here was a new idea of a gentleman, a moral condition rather than a social rank. It was also a new idea of honor, which was not defined by rank or status or gender, but by a principle of human dignity and decency."46 The hierarchy of the army was suited to Washington's sense of order propriety. "Washington exerted an almost hypnotic charm particularly on men," wrote biographer James Thomas Flexner. "Men followed him to death in battle, rushed out to cheer as he passed by, and in small rooms fought for his favor."47

The ceremonial dignity of his office fitted President Washington's reserved character but also wore on him. Vice President John Adams sought to elevate the presidency by suggesting that the Chief Executive be addressed as "His Highness the President of the United States and Protector of the Rights of Same." After an extensive debate, the Senate settled on "The President of the United States." Mrs. Washington contributed to the down-to-earth presidential image, noted Abigail Adams. "She is plain in her dress but that plainness is the best of every article," she wrote. "Her manners are modest and unassuming, dignified and feminine."48

Despite his dignity, Washington tried not to be judgmental. Washington biographer Noemie Emery wrote that "the commonplaces of morality took second place to charity and love. He took great vicarious pleasure in the rakish antics of Gouverneur Morris, went with Martha to pay calls on Robert Morris in his cell in debtors' prison, and sent Alexander Hamilton, in deep trouble in 1797 over his public confession of an adultery committed in 1791 with Maria Reynolds, a warm note of great affection (gallantly making no mention of his problem) with an immensely valuable wine cooler, sent to him from France by Lafayette."49 Washington was more hierarchical than Abraham Lincoln. Historian John E. Ferling wrote: "Not one letter of the scores he wrote in these years bears the ring of a communication to a friend, to an equal; and, while many who knew him left behind descriptions of this young man, none ever claimed to be anything more than a follower or an admirer. He looked upon other men in terms of his superiors and his subordinates, and toward him they reciprocated in kind."50 Emery contended: "He was an aristocrat, very much of the supervising classes, looking down upon the lower orders with a mixture of obligation and distaste. Thus his affinity for the more high-toned of his contemporaries: Robert and Gouverneur Morris, Henry Laurens, John Jay, and Philip Schuyler of New York. To his credit, his definitions ran along the lines of attitude, making him able to admit people of the middle classes, like [Nathanael] Greene and [Henry] Knox, and even Alexander Hamilton."51

Dignity for America's most revered presidents was in part physical. Both Washington and Abraham Lincoln were big men. Both were a head taller than their peers. Colleague Robert L. Wilson described Lincoln as "Six feet and four inches high in his Stockings."52 Lincoln himself said: "I am, in height, six feet, four inches, nearly".53 Washington was also 6-4 (in boots), although there is more controversy over exactly how tall was America's first president. He was generally labeled 6-2, but at death his body measured 6 foot 3.5 inches. Even Washington underestimated his stature - ordering clothes from London that were too small for his body. Washington's commanding physique and personal style contributed to the image of command he cultivated. Historian Dixon Wecter wrote: "Because of his slow dignity, joined to method, efficiency, and punctuality, Washington never appeared to be hurried."54 Historian Forrest McDonald noted: "Washington stood six feet and had broad, powerful shoulders and slim hips; and he had learned the trick, when men said something beyond his ken, of looking at them in a way that made them feel irreverent or even stupid."55

Washington biographer Richard Brookhiser wrote that Washington's charisma was partly "a function of his stature...He also carried himself well. 'Noble' and 'commanding' are words that come up over and over in descriptions of him."56 Historian David Hackett Fischer wrote that Washington "was a big man, immaculate in dress, and of such charismatic presence that he filled the street even when he rode alone."57 In public, Washington presented a fastidious sartorial fashion. As a young officer, he designed his own uniform....As a delegate to the Second Continental Congress in 1775, he was the only one to show up in uniform. Two decades later, he was disappointed that he could not wear a new uniform for his step-granddaughter's wedding. "Washington never made the mistake of wearing splendid clothes on the wrong occasion," noted historian Samuel Eliot Morrison. "In the French and Indian War he wore a plain, neutral-colored uniform instead of royal scarlet, and dressed his soldiers as frontiersmen, in buckskin and moccasins, so that they carried no superfluous weight and offered no mark to the Indians."58

In contrast, Abraham Lincoln did not set any sartorial standards. According to fellow attorney Henry C. Whitney, "His hat was brown and faded and the nap invariably worn or rubbed off. He wore a short cloak and sometimes a shawl. His coat and vest hung loosely on his giant frame and his trousers were usually a trifle short. In one hand he carried a faded green umbrella with his name, A. Lincoln, in rather large white cotton or muslin letters sewed on the inside. The knob was gone from the handle and, when closed, a piece of cord was usually tied round it in the middle to keep it from flying open. In the other hand he carried a literal carpet-bag in which were stored the few papers to be used in court, and underclothing enough to last till his return to Springfield."59

Washington was an excellent dancer well known for his civility and manners. Washington Irving wrote that General Washington "was fond of the dance, and it was the boast of many ancient dames in our day, who had been belles in the time of the Revolution, that they had danced minuets with him, or had him for a partner in contra-dances. There were balls in camp, in some of the dark times of the Revolution."60 Lincoln, on the other hand, was not a dancer. He supposedly once told future wife Mary Todd that "I should like to dance with you in the worst way."61 After a tour of the dance floor with Lincoln, she confirmed that he had. Mrs. Lincoln, ever critical of her husband's deportment, thought they had much improved as president, saying "his manners got quite polished."62

Lincoln, however, was more gregarious than Washington. As President, Lincoln had more ability to put people at ease than did Washington, who quickly became trapped by the formal protocol of his job. Out of office, Washington was occasionally lonely and longed for friends. He became a prisoner of his public image - particularly after presidential protocol froze most of his public interactions. His Mount Vernon home was magnet for known and unknown guests. He recorded in his diary one night before the Revolution that "some young woman whose name was unknown to any Body in this family, dined here."63 Lincoln friend Joshua Speed recalled: "Mr. Lincoln was a social man, though he did not seek company; it sought him. After he made his home with me, on every winter's night at my store, by a big wood fire, no matter how inclement the weather, eight or ten choice spirits assembled, without distinction of party. It was a sort of social club without organization. They came there because they were sure to find Lincoln. His habit was to engage in conversation upon any and all subjects except politics."64 Lincoln himself once observed: "How miserably things seem to be arranged in this world! If we have no friends we have no pleasure, and if we have them we are sure to lose them and are doubly pained by the loss."65 As President, Lincoln had more ability to put people at ease than did President Washington, who quickly became trapped by the formal protocol of his new job.

Both understood themselves. Law partner William H. Herndon wrote: "Mr. Lincoln also had a good understanding; that is, the faculty that comprehends the exact state of things and determines their relations, near or remote. The understanding does not necessarily inquire for the reason of things. While Lincoln was odd and original, while he lived out of himself and by himself, and while he could absorb but little from others, yet a reading of his speeches, messages and letters satisfies us that he had good understanding. But the strongest point in his make-up was the knowledge he had of himself; he comprehended and understood his own capacity - what he did and why he did it - better perhaps than any man of his day. He had a wider and deeper comprehension of his environments of the political conditions especially, than men who were more learned or had the benefits of a more thorough training." Herndon added: "He was a very sensitive man, - modest to the point of diffidence, - and often hid himself in the masses to prevent the discovery of his identity. He was not indifferent, however, to approbation and public opinion. He had no disgusting egotism and no pompous pride, no aristocracy, no haughtiness, no vanity. Merging together the qualities of his nature he was a meek, quiet, unobtrusive gentleman."66

The mature dignity of America's sixteenth President came through a different route than that achieved by America's first President. Lincoln was brought up in the Baptist church, married by an Episcopalian, worshipped in the Presbyterian church and hung around with Methodists. He was however, raised in a different and rougher school without the influence of a powerful family like the aristocratic Fairfaxes, who mentored Washington. Friend Henry Clay Whitney wrote: "Lincoln was raised in the social wilderness; the pastimes of his neighborhood were (not balls, or hops, but) shindigs or hoe-downs; not concerts, operettas, or recitals, but sings: not theatrical representations, but charades: the light literature of his youth was not Pilpay, or the 'Arabian Nights,' or even Sam Slick; but 'Cousin Sally Dillard,' and 'Becky Williams Courtship,' and such like trash."67

Lincoln did not play his role as stiffly or as uniformly as Washington did. According to Whitney, "One of the most obvious of Mr. Lincoln's peculiarities was his dissimilitude of qualities, or inequality of conduct, his dignity of deportment and action, interspersed with freaks of frivolity and inanity; his high aspiration and achievement, and his descent into the most primitive vales of listlessness, and the most ridiculous buffoonery."68 Colleague Thomas W. S. Kidd recalled: "Mr. Lincoln made no pretensions to superiority, mental, moral nor physical, which fact with his social qualities and well-known good nature, made him approachable with confidence by the playmates of his sons, Bob and Tad, the man who dug his garden, made his clothes, or sold him his meat, the sheriff, the crier, his legal opponent's client, the country justice or the chief on the supreme bench. Innocent to a fault himself, he would join hands with all in friendship, believing, as I have often heard him say, that the world would be a better place for all of us if suspicion was less cultivated as one of the characteristics of our nature."69 While Washington was the model for an American elite, Lincoln was the model of the American Everyman. Lincoln was inquisitive; he liked to ask questions. "Lincoln always manifested interest in everybody with whom he associated. When you first met him and studied him he impressed you with being a very sad man and a very kind man. He struck you as being a man who would go out of his way to serve you. There was about him a sense of self-abnegation," recalled John H. Littlefield, who was a law clerk in the Lincoln law office. "In his freedom of intercourse with people he would seem to put himself on par with everybody; and yet there was within him a sort of reserved power, a quiet dignity which prevented people from presuming on him, notwithstanding he had thrown down the social bars. A person of less individuality would have been trifled with."70

Judge Owen T. Reeves recalled: "Lincoln was the apostle of the common people. Their rights, their conditions, their hardships, their opportunities, their aspirations, their hopes, their joys, their sorrows - all these were subjects upon which his mind brooded and sought to work out plans for their betterment and happiness. No man I ever met knew the common people better than he, or was in closer sympathy with them. Having sprung from the innumerable common throng, his heart never ceased to beat in sympathy with them. Besides, he was endowed with that best sense - common sense."71 New York journalist Ellis Henry Roberts wrote of Lincoln: "I found him one of the most companionable men I have ever met. Frank, hearty and unassuming, one feels irresistibly drawn toward him. In his conversation and bearing he reflects the gentleman. Hardly a trace of the rough schooling of his earlier days remains. You may be impressed by his singularity of character, but it never occurs to you that he lacks culture. If his manner is at times somewhat unusual, it never strikes you as uncouth. In the essentials of good breeding, Mr. Lincoln is infinitely superior to the generality of Americans."72

Both welcomed the company of friends, but Washington was more reserved in their presence. Washington biographer James Thomas Flexner wrote: "Throughout his career, despite the power of his personality and the stupendous success that attended him, Washington was shy. He hated to be stared at, as by portrait painters. This shyness was counteracted by life-long habitude when he met people according to the traditions of Virginia entertaining: ever since he was conscious of the world, he had seen strangers appear on the doorstep and often be put up for the night. But he never got really used to the formal entertaining forced on him when he was the social focal point of a government operating in a major city."73 Long before General Washington became President Washington, he had converted dignity to careful distance. When future Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin met George Washington in western Pennsylvania in September 1784, Gallatin told a friend "that of all the inaccessible men he had ever met, General Washington was the most so. And this remark he made [again] late in life, after having been conversant with most of the sovereigns of Europe and their prime ministers."74 Gallatin nevertheless impressed Washington with his intelligence and was pressed to become Washington's land agent in the region - a job which Gallatin refused. Washington, the slave-owner and general, as not accustomed to being refused.

Washington saw forced social situations as a "panacea" for his melancholy. Biographer James Thomas Flexner wrote: "If an occasion - a convivial group, a reunion with an old friend, a chat with an agreeable stranger - offered possibilities of diversion, he grasped it eagerly. Although he rarely threw off sparks, he habitually radiated good humor. He laughed at other men's anecdotes and occasionally essayed his own. Yet those who knew him well felt in him always a fundamental gravity."75 Washington's humor was more subdued and more private than Lincoln's. When a Philadelphia newspaper alleged that the government had been subverted by British bribes, Washington asked Secretary of War James McHenry: "And pray, good sir, what part of the $800,000 have come to your share? As you are in high office, I hope you did not disgrace yourself in the acceptance of a paltry bribe. A $100,000 perhaps?"76

Even as president there was an artlessness to Lincoln's leadership style. "He is Old Abe, & nothing else, place him where you will," wrote federal official Benjamin Brown French, "Everybody that knows him loves him..."77 Civil War General Carl Schurz, who was a political ally of Lincoln's, wrote in his memoirs: "Those who visited the White House - and the White House appeared to be open to whosoever wished to enter - saw there a man of unconventional manners, who, without the slightest effort to put on dignity, treated all men alike, much like old neighbors; whose speech had not seldom a rustic flavor about it; who always seemed to have time for a homely talk and never to be in a hurry to press business, and who occasionally spoke about important affairs of State wit the same nonchalance - I might almost say, irreverence - with which he might have discussed an every-day law case in his office at Springfield, Illinois. People were puzzled. Some interesting stories circulated about Lincoln's wit, his quaint sayings, and also about his kindness of heart and the sympathetic loveliness of his character; but, as to his qualities as a statesman, serious people who did not intimately know him were inclined to reserve their judgment."78 One word, however, Lincoln did not like. The grandson of Lincoln contemporary John M. Palmer was admonished by the elder Palmer: "Do not say Abe Lincoln. After he left 'Old Salem,' nobody called him Abe except behind his back. He was a friend of mine for years and I always called him Mr. Lincoln. Judge [Stephen T.]Logan and Major [John T.] Stuart called him Mr. Lincoln. His closest personal friend, Osias (Ozias) M. Hatch, always called him Mr. Lincoln. He could exchange tales and laugh with plain men on the streets corners. But he had a strange dignity all his own. No man slapped him on the back or called him Abe."79

One did not offend either man. Illinois colleague Franklin Blades recalled a courtroom confrontation in Danville between Mr. Lincoln and Indiana Democrat Daniel Voorhees. "In arguing a question to the judge, Mr. Vorhees [sic] made some discourteous and rather offensive remarks about Mr. Lincoln. When Mr. Lincoln came to reply he so unmercifully and at the same so humorously ridiculed Mr. Vorhees that some of the lawyers ran out of the court house and lay down on the grass in explosions of laughter. Mr. Vorhees took great offense, and in the evening called at the room where Mr. Lincoln, Judge [David] Davis and some others were engaged in social chat, and furiously assailed - not assaulted - Mr. Lincoln, but he came off much worsted, as he had in the discussion before the judge." Blades recalled: "While Mr. Lincoln was not in the least assertive of his dignity and self-respect, yet there was that about him which would prevent any one from slapping him on the back and calling him 'Abe,' except it might possibly be the few who were familiar with him from his young manhood and who had kept pace with him in his gradually increasing social standing."80

Union officer Benjamin Rush Cowen saw a great deal of President Lincoln in 1861. "In all the hurly burly of a great war of which he was the central figure and guiding spirit he was yet the same gentle, genial, modest, patient, humble American citizen he had ever been. There was a noble dignity about the man, without any assumed superiority which so often marks the over-elevation of a small soul. He rose, not above his place, but to it, and his deportment never brought discredit on the nation whose head he was."81 War Department official Charles A. Dana says: 'Even in his freest moments one always felt the presence of a will and an intellectual power which maintained the ascendency of the President. In his relations to his cabinet 'it was always plain that he was the master and they were the subordinates. They constantly had to yield to his will, and if he ever yielded to them it was because they convinced him that the course they advised was judicious and appropriate.' While men of the highest culture and position thus recognized his intellectual primacy there was no man so humble as to feel abashed before him. Frederick Douglass beautifully expressed the sentiment of the plain people in his company: 'I felt as though I was in the presence of a big brother and that there was safety in his atmosphere.'"82

Lincoln's was a simple dignity. Civil War officer and journalist Donn Piatt wrote: "With all his awkwardness of manner, and utter disregard of social conventionalities that seemed to invite familiarity, there was something about Abraham Lincoln that enforced respect. No man presumed on the apparent invitation to be other than respectful." He wrote that "this power came from a sense of a reserve force of intellectual ability that no one took account of, save in its results."83 Illinois editor Paul Selby recalled: "Mr. Lincoln's habits at the White House were as simple as they were at his old home in Illinois. He never alluded to himself as 'President,' or as occupying 'the Presidency.' His office he always designated as 'the place.' "Call me Lincoln,' said he to a friend; 'Mr. President' had become so very tiresome to him."84 Portrait painter Albert Jasper Conant recalled his initial session with Lincoln in Springfield in 1860. Conant expected a ill-mannered country bumpkin. "So, as I sat down again before my easel, I made some flippant remark calculated to appeal to the vulgarian. It was then I got my first hint of the innate dignity of the man. He made some monosyllabic reply, and there came over his face the most marvelously complex expression I have ever seen - a mingling of instant shrewd apprehension of the whole attitude of mind back of my remark, pained disappointment at my misunderstanding of him, and patient tolerance of it."85 Contrary to popular suppositions, noted a British visitor, "Lincoln was not a vulgar man. Moreover, he had a natural courtesy, and kindly good nature which more than supply the place of artificial good ls."86

George Washington was less tolerant of sitting for his portrait - but even more dignified. Washington's first major portrait was done as a man of war during a time of peace. When he had his portrait painted in 1772, he proudly wore his uniform from the French and Indian Wars.87 Washington and portraitist Gilbert Stuart had a cool relationship. When Stuart suggested that "you must let me forget that you are General Washington and that I am Stuart the painter," Washington responded: "Mr Stuart need never feel the need of forgetting who he is or who General Washington is."88 Joel Achenbach wrote: "Every so often a painter or sculptor would arrive at the mansion to preserve the countenance of the great man. He no longer resisted these efforts. He told a friend that sitting for a painter once made him as restive as a colt under the saddle, but his flouncing had decreased, he said, and now 'no dray moves more readily to the Thill than I do to the painter's chair.'"89 According to Gilbert Stuart, "There were features in his face totally different from what I had observed in any other human being. The sockets of the eye, for instance, were larger than what I ever met with before, and the upper part of the nose broader. All his features were indicative of the strongest passions yet like Socrates his judgment and self-command made him appear a man of different cast in the eyes of the world."90

Washington was not only America's first President. He was also first in precedents. Washington's executive dilemma was made more difficult because he had to set the model for republican government precedent. Pierce Butler, who had been a delegate from South Carolina to the Constitutional Convention, wrote in 1788: "I am free to acknowledge that his powers are full great, and greater than I was disposed to make them. Nor, entre nous, do I believe they would have been so great had not many of the members cast their eyes towards General Washington as President; and shaped their Ideas of the Powers to be given to a President, by their opinions of his Virtue."91 The Presidency was made for Washington, because people believed Washington was made for the Presidency. In his First Inaugural, Washington professed: "I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love."92 Washington wrote Congressman James Madison shortly after he was inaugurated: "As the first in everything, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent, it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles."93 Historians Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick wrote that Washington finally "decided to make no calls, accept no invitations, and give no large entertainments, but to go to the theater occasionally and to hold one hour-long levee a week, asking a few of the guests each time to remain for dinner."94

British General Thomas Gage once demeaned Washington's military rank. Washington's reply reflected the dignity of his position and the power of the people he represented: "You affect, Sir, to despise all Rank not derived from the same Source with your own. I cannot conceive any more honourable, than that which flows from that uncorrupted Choice of a brave and free People - the purest Source & original Fountain of all Power."95 As a congressman, however, Lincoln mocked his own military service in the Blackhawk War. General or President Washington would never have mocked his. Before the American Revolution, Washington's military service was his chief source of pride. Biographer Douglas Southall Freeman wrote: "During the action, he had two horses shot under him, but he found another and skillfully made his way through the woods. His tall figure was a mark for hidden riflemen. One of them sent a bullet through his hat; another bullet, a third, and still another slit his uniform with hot lead."96 Congressman Lincoln made fun of his own military career in a speech before the House of Representatives. Washington's military exploits were deadly serious. "He was touchy about his rank; lacking aristocratic credentials like [William] Fairfax, or London connections like [Governor 'Dinwiddie, his military position was his primary indication of social standing in the Virginia hierarchy."97

The dignity of Washington and Lincoln showed itself in different ways. During the 1858 Senate campaign, Mr. Lincoln entered a train at Bloomington wearing a black linen coat and an old cotton umbrella. After conversing with his fellow passengers, he "withdrew to another part of the car where he could occupy a seat by himself. Presently he arose, spread the cloak over the seat, lay down, somehow folded himself up till his long legs and arms were no longer in view, then drew the cloak around him and went to sleep."98 Lincoln's dignity was subtle, but quickly discerned. Aide John Hay wrote: "The evidence of all the men admitted to his intimacy is that he maintained, without the least effort of assumption, a singular dignity and reserve in the midst of his easiest conversation."99 Aide William O. Stoddard observed that "nothing displeased him more than any attempt...at unseemly or undignified familiarity, for his nature was genuinely dignified."100

Both men were slow to decide regarding major issues. Their minds worked methodically. "I think I knew General Washington intimately and thoroughly; and were I called on to delineate his character, it should be in terms like these," Thomas Jefferson wrote Walter Jones on January 2, 1814: "His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, though not so acute as that of a Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion. Hence the common remark of his officers, of the advantage he derived from councils of war, where hearing all suggestions, he selected whatever was best; and certainly no General ever planned his battles more judiciously."101

The Revolutionary War forced General Washington to adjust his style of military leadership to listen more and command less. Historian David Hackett Fischer wrote that the Continental Army's command structure "was forced upon them by the diversity of cultures in the country, by the pluralism of elites, by a more open polity, by a less stratified society, and especially by expanding ideas of liberty and freedom. The man at the center was George Washington. From much hard-won experience in American politics and war he had leaned to work closely with his subordinates. Washington met frequently with them in councils of war and encouraged a free exchange of views. He also listened more than he talked and drew freely from the best ideas that were put before him. In early councils he actually took a vote. Later he worked more skillfully by the construction of consensus. In that way he created a community of open discourse and a spirit of mutual forbearance. He encouraged his lieutenants to join freely in the common effort." Fischer wrote of Washington's council of war that decided the retreat from Brooklyn to Manhattan: "After all the confusion and cross-purposes and blunders on Long Island, he was suddenly clear and firm. He had already begun to collect the boats, and the decision was made, Washington ordered that an evacuation was to begin immediately, in strictest secrecy." Of the Council of War after the second Battle of Trenton on January 2, Fischer wrote: "Nobody doubted that Washington was in charge. His officers deeply respected him, but their conversation was not constrained by deference. The discussion was freewheeling, and its tone suggested that Washington wanted it that way."102

Lincoln friend Henry Clay Whitney recalled that Lincoln "took pride in saying, that his long deliberations made it possible for him to stand by his own acts when they were once resolved on."103 Lincoln's law partner and biographer, William Herndon, also thought his colleague's mind worked slowly. Herndon wrote: "I have asked the friends and foes of Mr. Lincoln alike what they thought of his perceptions. One gentleman of unquestioned ability and free from all partiality or prejudice said, 'Mr. Lincoln's perceptions were slow, a little perverted, if not somewhat distorted and diseased.' If the meaning of this is that Mr. Lincoln saw things from a peculiar angle of his being, and from this was susceptible to nature's impulses, and that he so expressed himself, then I have no objection to what is said. Otherwise I dissent. Mr. Lincoln's perceptions were slow, cold, clear, and exact. Everything came to him in its precise shape and color. To some men the world of matter and of man comes ornamented with beauty, life and action; and hence more or less false and inexact. No lurking illusion or other error, false in itself and clad for the moment in robes of splendor, ever passed undetected or unchallenged over the threshold of his mind - that point which divides vision from realm and home of thought. Names to him were nothing, and titles naught - assumption always standing back abashed at his cold, intellectual glare. Neither his perceptions nor intellectual vision were perverted, distorted, or diseased. He saw all things through a perfect mental lens. There was no diffraction or refraction there. He was not impulsive, fanciful, or imaginative; but cold, calm and precise."104

Lincoln's friend Noah Brooks took a similar view. Just as law partner William H. Herndon had observed Lincoln closely in the two decades before the Civil War, journalist Brooks had a front-row seat at the White House. "It is generally agreed that Mr. Lincoln's slowness was a prominent trait of his character; but it is too early, perhaps, to say how much of our safety and success we owe to his slowness," wrote Brooks shortly after Lincoln died. "It may be said, however, that he is to-day admired and beloved as much for what he did not do as for what he did. He was well aware of the popular opinion concerning his slowness, but was only sorry that such a quality of mind should sometimes be coupled with weakness and vacillation. Such an accusation he thought to be unjust. Acknowledging that he was slow in arriving at conclusions, he said that he could not help that; but he believed that when he did arrive at conclusions they were clear and 'stuck by.' He was a profound believer in his own fixity of purpose, and took pride in saying that his long deliberations made it possible for him to stand by his own acts when they were once resolved upon."105 Lincoln himself reportedly said: "I am slow to learn and slow to forget that which I have learned - My mind is like a piece of steel, very hard to scratch any thing on it and almost impossible after you get it there to rub it out."106 Novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe visited Lincoln in the White House. The author of Uncle Tom's Cabin observed: "Slow and careful in coming to resolutions, willing to talk with every person who has anything to show on any side of a disputed subject, long in weighing and pondering, attached to constitutional limits and time-honored landmarks, Lincoln certainly was the safest leader a nation could have at a time when the habeas corpus must be suspended, and all the constitutional and minor rights of citizens be thrown into the hands of their military leader. A reckless, bold, theorizing, dashing man of genius might have wrecked our Constitution and ended us in a splendid military despotism."107

There was one area in which the dignity of the two presidents completely broke down. Washington and Lincoln were both indulgent parents who loved children. Washington "was rather partial to children," reported George Washington Parke Custis, his step-grandson.108 President Washington doted on "Wash's" sister Nelly. Biographer James Thomas Flexer wrote: "As an older woman, Nelly was to remember that the 'grave dignity' which her step-grandfather 'usually wore' did not prevent him from laughing heartily at her 'saucy descriptions of any scene in which she had taken part, or any one of the merry pranks she then often played.' When she and her youthful companions were amusing themselves, Washington would appear to share their hilarity, and then reluctantly withdraw 'because his presence created a reserve they could not overcome.'"109

Neither Washington's stepson "Jackie" Custis nor Lincoln's youngest son "Tad" Lincoln were diligent students. Lincoln tolerated this in his son; Washington tried a sterner approach toward his genial but unambitious ward. Martha spoiled Jackie; Mr. Lincoln spoiled Tad. George Washington had great expectations for his stepson which were never realized. A kind and good man, Jackie Custis was a failure in education and professional life. Historian Patricia Brady wrote: "Jack never really took hold of anything in his life except [wife] Nelly Calvert..."110 Tad was even slower in school than Jackie. Tad probably never really learned to school until he went to a boarding school in Germany after his father's death. Like Jackie, Tad died young. Jackie succombed to "camp fever" at age 27, shortly after the Battle of Yorktown. Tad died, probably of pneumonia, at age 19.

In February 1862, both Willie and Tad Lincoln came down with a fever likely caused by the polluted water from the Potomac Canal. Tad recovered after suffering for two weeks. Willie, precociously bright and parentally adored, succumbed two days after Washington's birthday, probably of typhoid. Lincoln aide John Hay recorded in his diary: "At about five o'clock this afternoon I was lying half asleep on the sofa in my office when his entrance roused me. 'Well, Nicolay,' said he, choking with emotion, 'my boy is gone - he is actually gone!' and, bursting into tears, turned and went into his own office."111 According to seamstress Elizabeth Keckley, President Lincoln looked at his dead son and said: "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so. It is hard, hard to have him die!"112

Friend Joseph Gillespie said Lincoln "was the most indulgent parent I ever knew. His children litterally [sic] ran over him and he was powerless to withstand their importunities."113 One Bloomington acquaintance recalled: "Mr. Lincoln was always fond of children. During his earlier years of practice in Springfield his wife would have him put their latest baby in its wagon and wheel it on the street until he had to go to his office. A neighbor called to him one morning: 'That is pretty business for a lawyer.' Mr. Lincoln's quiet reply was: 'I promised to give him the air; he was so tired and heated.'"114 Mrs. Lincoln acknowledged that her husband was very "indulgent to his children." He told her that he was happy "my children are free - happy & unrestrained by parental tyranny. Love is the chain whereby to Lock a child to its parents[.]"115 Lincoln's sensitivity extended far beyond his own children. Portrait painter Albert Jasper Conant recalled parting with Lincoln in 1860. As Conant's daughter passed out of earshot, Lincoln asked "Is her mother living?" When Conant answered in the affirmative, Lincoln replied: "I am so glad to know it...Somehow I had got the idea that she was orphaned, and I was afraid to ask her about her mother lest I might hurt her feelings."116

Both Washington and Lincoln built walls which even those close to them were unable to breach. Washington biographer Douglas Southall Freeman wrote that Washington "was himself responsible, in part, for the fact that he was a stronger, in his inmost self, to those around him. As man and soldier, he built up through the years of war two walls of reserve. One had a footing of personal caution. It is easy to make acquaintances,' he explained, 'but very difficult to shake them off, however irksome and unprofitable they are found after we have once committed ourselves to them...' The safe rule of personal relationship, as he saw it, was this: 'be courteous to all but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence; true friendship is a plant of slow growth.' He loved the Marquis as he might have loved a son, but even in this closest of friendships. Washington did not admit Lafayette all the way beyond the second wall of his reserve, the wall of military secrecy. The Commander-in-Chief knew how ears were raised in camp to catch the faintest whisper of impending movement, and he realized that gossips were almost as dangerous as spies. Even when he knew his remarks would not be passed on, reserve on military matters was a habit."117

But surrogate sons could break through that reserve. In 1784, Washington wrote Lafayette that he lacked "works which could express my affection for you, were I to attempt it."118 In a 1779 letter to Lafayette, the depth of Washington's affection was clear. He congratulated Lafayette on his new military appointment "with an assurance that none can do it with more warmth of Affection, or sincere joy than myself. Your forward zeal in the cause of liberty; Your singular attachment to this infant World; Your ardent and persevering efforts, not only in America but since your return to France to serve the United States; Your polite attention to Americans, and your strict and uniform friendship for me, has ripened the first impressions of esteem and attachment which I imbibed for you into such perfect love and gratitude that neither time nor absence can impair which will warrant my assuring you, that whether in the character of an Officer at the head of a Corps of gallant French (if circumstances should require this) whether as a Major Genl. commanding a division of the American Army; Or whether, after our Swords and Spears have given place to the plough share and pruning hook, I see you as a private Gentleman, a friend and Companion, I shall welcome you in all the warmth of friendship to Columbia's shore; and in the latter case, to my rural Cottage, where homely fare and a cordial reception shall be substituted for delicacies and costly living."119

Washington's mentorship had political consequences. The French Lafayette was active in the opposition to slavery. Washington's American "sons" were active in promoting a more national government. Biographer Douglas Southall Freeman wrote "Of his 159 political letters written to Americans in four a quarter years at home after the war, 76 were addressed to one or another of seven men, all of them in their twenties or thirties. Without the least intention of doing so, Washington speedily became the leader of a company of young men more interested in the Union than in the individual States."120 Washington's childlessness may indeed have been a political advantage as America's first President. "Many Americans were worried about monarchial succession, and it was very important to them that Washington be childless," maintained Washington biographer Susan Dunn. In a draft section of Washington's First Inaugural, Washington wrote: "I have no child, no family to build in greatness upon my country's ruins."121

Alexander Hamilton, Washington's 26-year-old aide-de-camp in the Revolutionary War became the nation's Secretary of the Treasury. John Hay, the 21-year assistant secretary in the Lincoln White House, became Secretary of State at the turn of the 20th Century. Historian Michael Burlingame observed: "The relationship between Lincoln and Hay resembled that between earlier wartime-father-and-son surrogates George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. As the journalist John Russell Young noted, Hay 'knew the social graces and amenities, and did much to make the atmosphere of the war environed White House grateful, tempering unreasonable aspirations, diving to disappointed ambitions the soft answer which turnest away wrath, showing, as Hamilton did in similar offices, the tact and common sense which were to serve him as they served Hamilton in wider spheres of public duty.'"122 Young wrote: "Hay had the young man's yearning for the field, but he remained with the President through the dreary days; the days of Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville...." Like Hamilton under Washington, observed Young, "Hay's yearning for the field became an active force. He had the military instinct."123

George Washington's code of conduct was much more formal than Lincoln's. Historian Stuart Leiberger wrote: "Washington rigidly adhered to the concept of deference, whereby the people voluntarily submit to the governance of their social and economic betters."124 Lincoln's style was deferential in a different way. Biographer James G. Randall wrote: "In personal dealings Lincoln put a new meaning into the word 'tact.' He could maintain poise, avoid awkward 'showdown,' and steer the conversation. In his presence embarrassment disappeared, courtesy was raised to an exquisite level, and a touch of human interest was added to the passing moment or the everyday routine."125

But even close observers saw a certain coldness in the reserve that Washington and Lincoln manifested. "His heart was not warn in its affections, but he calculated every man's value and give him solid esteem proportioned to it," wrote Thomas Jefferson.126 "Although the foundations of his faith were positive, he acted from day to day in a cloud of forebodings and anxieties," wrote biographer James Thomas Flexner. "His, mind, when empty, filled with an almost Byronic gloom. But he did not, like many a romantic, revel in that gloom. He did his best to exorcise it."127 Lincoln never exorcized it. The first president lacked the sixteenth president's obvious melancholy. "Lincoln's melancholy never failed to impress any man who ever saw or knew him. The perpetual look of sadness was his most prominent feature," wrote William H. Herndon.128 In his tendency to melancholy, Lincoln was closer to the third president, Thomas Jefferson, who was for several months prior to writing the Declaration of Independence incapacitated by a psychosomatic illness. After a Union defeat at Fredericksburg and a Republican rebellion in the Senate, Lincoln told a friend in December 1862: "We are now on the brink of destruction. It appears to me the Almighty is against us, and I can hardly see a ray of hope."129

Washington had a mania for order that Lincoln lacked. "Everywhere order, method, punctuality, economy reigned," recalled Washington's step-grandson.130 Washington also had a proclivity for management. Historian Henry Wiencek wrote: "Washington was a man of regular habits and he expected his workers, white and black, to exhibit similar discipline and good order."131 He didn't like untidiness - in war, government or personal affairs. Historian Edmund S. Morgan that "His attachment to Mount Vernon...did not stop at the desire to make a profit from it. He wanted the place and its surroundings to look right, to honor the owner by the way they looked,; and this meant giving up the slovenly, though often profitable, agricultural practices of his neighbors."132 At home or at the office, Lincoln was usually oblivious to appearances.

Washington's special position carried special responsibilities, Washington believed. "His situation was unique," wrote historian Edmund S. Morgan. "It was he, after all, more than any other man, who had won independence for the nation. If the nation proved unworthy of it and incapable of sustaining it, the fault would not be his. He would still retain something of the honor he had gained in the struggle, even though it would be sadly diminished. But if he associated himself with a losing effort to save what he had won, he would reduce still further the significance of his achievement."133 Restraint and discipline were not obvious revolutionary virtues, but they were George Washington's. Historian Douglas Southall Freeman wrote that Washington's "will and his self-discipline were his rod and his staff."134 What was remarkable for the world was the judgement and detachment that they exercised under the most trying circumstances. Writing of Washington's retirement from his military command at Annapolis in December 1783, Secretary of War James McHenry observed: "The events of the revolution accomplished - the new situation into which it had throw the affairs of the world - the great man who had borne so conspicuous a figure in it, in the act of relinquishing all public employment to return to private life - the past - the present - the future - the manner - the occasion - all conspired to render it a spectacle inexpressibly solemn and affecting."135

While Lincoln generally persuaded, General Washington habitually ordered. After leaving office, Washington wrote that "whenever I order a thing to be done, it must be done...having been accustomed all my life to more regularity and punctuality, [I] know that system and method is required to accomplish all reasonable requests."136 The former President wrote: "I begin my diurnal course with the sun; that if my hirelings are not in their places at that time I send them messages expressive of my sorrow for their indisposition; then having put these wheels in motion, I examine the state of things further; and the more they are probed, the deeper I find the wounds are which my buildings have sustained by an absence and neglect of eight years."137

Lincoln was irregular in his habits - even his eating. Washington dined punctually at three each afternoon. Judge David C. Davis argued that Lincoln "had no managing faculty nor organizing power..."138 Lincoln friend Henry C. Whitney wrote: "Mr. Lincoln had no method, system or order in his exterior affairs; he had no library, no clerk, no stenographer; he had no common-place book, not index rerum, no diary. Even when he was President and wanted to preserve a memorandum of anything, he noted it down on a card and stuck it in a drawer or in his vest pocket. But in his mental processes and operations, he had the most complete system and order. While outside of his mind all was anarchy and confusion, inside all was symmetry and method. His mind was his work shop; he needed no office, no pen, ink and paper; he could perform his chief labor by self-introspection."139

Unlike Washington, however, Lincoln did not write chatty, introspective letters. Lawyer Lincoln's letters usually had a business objective. Both were careful of their public correspondence but Lincoln was willing to break new ground with the way he used that correspondence. Lincoln biographer Michael Burlingame wrote of Lincoln's famous public letter of August 1863 to New York Tribune Editor Horace Greeley: "Lincoln's unprecedented public letter caused a sensation. 'So novel a thing as a newspaper correspondence between the President and an editor excites great attention,' noted a journalist; but 'Mr. Lincoln does so many original things that everybody has ceased to be surprised at him, and hence the violation of precedent in this matter does not provoke so much comment as might be expected. A Washington correspondent reported that people 'who insist on precedent, and Presidential dignity, are horrified at this novel idea of Mr. Lincoln's, but there is unanimous admiration of the skill and force with which he has defined his policy.'"140

Historian Garry Wills wrote: "During the early struggles of the nation, Washington was himself the unifying icon, the symbol of the whole process. He had to replace his own glamour with the more impersonal symbols of power - the Constitution, the flag, the officers of government, the courts. He learned an elaborate language of tact and protocol, receiving respect because of his office, not his person. He stripped away as soon as possible all emblems of his military glory."141 Historian Richard Norton Smith wrote that "that what Washington did as president was hardly more important than what he did not do. He did not take sides in the continental wars that swept Europe as a result of France's revolutionary experiment, buying precious time for the United States to evolve a sense of nationhood. He did not organize a king's party, nor regard himself as a democratically chosen monarch (the Aurora's assertions to the contrary), nor designate his vice president to serve as a kind of prime minister, nor turn the secretary of the treasury into an American chancellor of the exchequer, all of which he might easily have done."142 Giving up power was the hallmark of Washington's leadership. He did it twice - in 1783 and 1796.

Biographer James Thomas Flexner wrote that President Washington succeeded "in keeping the United States at peace while all the surrounding world went up in flames, and he created the foreign policy which the nation was to pursue - with one major slip in 1812 - for more than a century, during which the nation grew, almost unmolested from abroad, into the great power which during 1916 moved again onto the European scene." Flexner wrote: "One of the reasons that it is hard for us to appreciate the depth of Washington's intellect is that what he said seems, to historical hindsight, obvious. But to identify, while deep in the trenches of conflict, what the future would consider obvious, is a towering intellectual achievement."143

That is the sort of leadership that Abraham Lincoln would provide as well. Less than two months before Lincoln died, a French nobleman and writer met the President at a small White House reception. President Lincoln "dominates everyone present and maintains his exalted position without the slightest effort," he wrote.144 Such was the dignity of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

For Further Reference

  1. (Letter from John Adams to James Warren, April 22, 1776).
  2. Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, The Life of John Marshall, Volume II, p. 139.
  3. David McCullough, 1776, p. 247.
  4. (Letter from Edward Thornton to James Bland Burges, April 2, 1792).
  5. Stuart Leiberger, Founding Friendship: George Washington, James Madison, and the Creation of the American Republic, p. 6.
  6. John E. Ferling, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, p. 88.
  7. Henry Cabot Lodge, George Washington, Volume I, p. 158.
  8. David Brooks, "In Search of Dignity," New York Times, July 6, 2009.
  9. Douglas Southall Freeman, George Washington: A Biography, Volume III, p. 445.
  10. Albert J. Beveridge, The Life of John Marshall, Volume I, p. 50.
  11. Marcus Cunliffe, "The Doubled Images of Lincoln of Lincoln and Washington," The Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture at Gettysburg, p. 16.
  12. James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799), p. 354.
  13. Fritz Hirschfeld, George Washington and Slavery: A Documentary Portrayal, p. 69.
  14. Garry Wills, Certain Trumpets: The Nature of Leadership, p. 154.
  15. Richard Norton Smith, Patrician, p. 113.
  16. John Ferling, John Adams: A Life, p. 136.
  17. David McCullough, John Adams, p. 413.
  18. Joel Achenbach, The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac and the Race to the West, p. 17.
  19. John Ferling, Setting the World: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution, p. 99.
  20. (Letter from George Washington to President of the Continental Congress, June 16, 1775).
  21. Edmund S. Morgan, The Meaning of Independence: John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, p. 37.
  22. Barry Schwartz, George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol, p. 150.
  23. Douglas Southall Freeman, Washington (Abridgment by Richard Harwell), p. 515.
  24. W. T. Read, Life and Correspondence of George Read, p. 441.
  25. Edmund S. Morgan, The Meaning of Independence: John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, p. 35.
  26. Ron Chernow, George Washington: A Life, p. 199.
  27. Barry Schwartz, George Washington: The Making of an American Symbol, p. 152.
  28. Matthew Spalding, editor, The Founders' Almanac, p. 161. (George Washington, The Newburgh Address, March 15, 1783.
  29. James Morton Smith, Washington: A Profile, p. 18.
  30. Edmund S. Morgan, The Genius of George Washington, p. 7.
  31. Edmund S. Morgan, The Meaning of Independence: John Adams, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, p. 29.
  32. Edmund S. Morgan, The Genius of George Washington, p. 7.
  33. Marcus Cunliffe, "The Doubled Images of Lincoln of Lincoln and Washington," The Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture at Gettysburg, p. 17.
  34. Douglas Southall Freeman, Washington (Abridgment by Richard Harwell), p. 514.
  35. Ward Hill Lamon, Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, p. 17.
  36. (Letter from Abigail Adams to Mary Cranch, January 5, 1790).
  37. David McCullough, John Adams, p. 413.
  38. Henry Wiencek, An Imperfect: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America, pp. 347-348.
  39. James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799), p. 353.
  40. Richard Norton Smith, Patriarch, p. 19.
  41. Claude G. Bowers, Jefferson and Hamilton: The Struggle for Democracy in America, p. 171.
  42. (George Washington, Farewell Address, September 17, 1796).
  43. Merrill D. Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation, p. 406.
  44. (Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Walter Jones, January 2, 1814).
  45. Walter A. McDougall, Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History, 1585-1828, p. 250.
  46. David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing, p. 273.
  47. James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799), pp. 471-472.
  48. Willard Sterne Randall, George Washington: A Life, pp. 453, 451.
  49. Noemie Emery, Washington: A Biography, p. 381.
  50. John E. Ferling, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, p. 60.
  51. Noemie Emery, Washington: A Biography, p. 308.
  52. Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln, p. 201 (Letter from Robert L. Wilson to William H. Herndon, February 10, 1866).
  53. Roy P. Basler, editor, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume III, pp. 511-12.
  54. James Morton Smith, Washington: A Profile, p. 7.
  55. Forrest McDonald, E Pluribus Unum: The Formation of the American Republic, 1776-1790, pp. 262-263.
  56. Gary L. Gregg II and Matthew Spalding, Patriot Sage: George Washington and the American Political Tradition, p. 300 (Richard Brookhiser, "The Forgotten Character of George Washington").
  57. David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing, p. 7.
  58. James Morton Smith, Washington: A Profile, p. 53 (Samuel Eliot Morrison, "The Young Man Washington").
  59. Jesse W. Weik, The Real Lincoln: A Portrait, p. 151.
  60. Washington Irving, Life of George Washington, p. 506.
  61. Katherine Helm, The True Story of Mary, Wife of Lincoln, p. 74.
  62. Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln, p.361 (Notes of Mary Todd Lincoln interview with William H. Herndon [September 1866]).
  63. John E. Ferling, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, p. 76.
  64. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, editor, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p. 19 (John T. Stuart).
  65. Henry Clay Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln, p. 498.
  66. William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, Herndon's Life of Lincoln, pp. 481-482.
  67. Henry Clay Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln, p. 197.
  68. Henry Clay Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln, p. 154
  69. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, editor, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p. 93 (Thomas W. S. Kidd, Address to Bar Association of Sangamon County, April 25, 1903).
  70. Harold Holzer, editor, Lincoln as I Knew Him: Gossip, Tributes & revelations from His Best Friends and Worst Enemies, p. 76.
  71. Paul M. Angle, editor, Abraham Lincoln by Some Men who Knew Him, p. 24-25. (Owen T. Reeves).
  72. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, editor, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p. 302 (Ellis Henry Roberts, "An Evening with Abraham Lincoln," Utica Morning Herald, June 27, 1860).
  73. James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799), pp. 493-494.
  74. Minnie Kendall Lowther, Friendship Hill: Home of Albert Gallatin, p. 18.
  75. James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799), p. 489.
  76. (Letter from George Washington to James McHenry, August 11, 1799).
  77. Benjamin B. French, Witness to the Young Republic, pp. 381-384.
  78. Carl Schurz, The Autobiography of Carl Schurz (Abridgment by Wayne Andrews), p. 175.
  79. I. B. Holley, Jr. General John M. Palmer, Citizen Soldiers, and the Army of a Democracy, p. 5.
  80. Paul M. Angle, editor, Abraham Lincoln by Some Men who Knew Him, pp. 84-85. ("Recollections of Judge Franklin Blades").
  81. Benjamin Rush Cowen, Abraham Lincoln: An Appreciation by One Who Knew Him, pp. 25-26.
  82. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, editor, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p. 403 (John Hay, Century Magazine, November 1890).
  83. Allen Thorndike Rice, editor, Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln, p. 493.
  84. Paul Selby, The Life, Stories and Speeches of Abraham Lincoln, p. 140.
  85. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, editor, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p. 312. (Albert Jasper Conant, McClure's Magazine, March 1909).
  86. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, editor, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p. 591.(Edward Dicey, Macmillan's Magazine, June 1865).
  87. John Ferling, Setting the World: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution, p. 47.
  88. James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799), p. 311.
  89. Joel Achenbach, The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac and the Race to the West, p. 140.
  90. James Thomas Flexner, On Desperate Seas: A Biography of Gilbert Stuart, p. 127.
  91. (Letter from Pierce Butler to Weedon Butler, May 5, 1778).
  92. (George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789).
  93. (Letter from George Washington to James Madison, May 1789).
  94. Stanley Elkins & Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788-1800, p. 49.
  95. (Letter from George Washington to Thomas Gage, August 19, 1775).
  96. Douglas Southall Freeman, Washington (Abridgment by Richard Harwell), p. 83.
  97. Joseph J. Ellis, His Excellency George Washington, p. 18.
  98. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, editor, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p.108 (Thomas Birch, Outlook of New York, February 11, 1911).
  99. Michael Burlingame, editor, At Lincoln's Side: John Hay's Civil War Correspondence and Selected Writings, p. 139.
  100. William O. Stoddard, Inside the White House, p. 150 (Sketch 2, New York Citizen, August 25, 1866).
  101. (Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Walter Jones, January 2, 1814).
  102. David Hackett Fischer, Washington's Crossing, pp. 315-316, 100, 313.
  103. Henry Clay Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln, p. 498.
  104. William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, Herndon's Life of Lincoln, pp. 477-79.
  105. Michael Burlingame, editor, Lincoln Observed: Civil War Dispatches of Noah Brooks, p.215 (Noah Brooks, "Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln").
  106. Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, editors, Herndon's Informants, p. 499 (Letter from Joshua F. Speed to William H. Herndon, December 6, 1866) .
  107. Herbert Mitgang, editor, Lincoln as They Saw Him, p. 377 (Harriet Beecher Stowe, "Littell's Living Age, February 6, 1864).
  108. Henry Wiencek, An Imperfect: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America, p. 83.
  109. James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799), p. 347.
  110. Patricia Brady, Martha Washington: An American Life, p. 89.
  111. Michael Burlingame, editor, With Lincoln in the White House: Letters, Memoranda, and Other Writings of John G. Nicolay, 1860-1865, p. 71.
  112. Elizabeth Keckley, Behind the Scenes, pp. 102-104.
  113. Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln, p.181 (Letter from Joseph Gillespie to William H. Herndon, January 31, 1866).
  114. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, editor, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p. 122 (Elizabeth Allen Bradner, Bloomington Pantagraph, February 6, 1909).
  115. Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney Davis, Herndon's Informants, p. 359 (Mary Todd Lincoln Interview with William H. Herndon, [September 1866]).
  116. Rufus Rockwell Wilson, editor, Intimate Memories of Lincoln, p.316-317 (Albert Jasper Conant, McClure's Magazine, March 1909).
  117. Douglas Southall Freeman, Washington (Abridgment by Richard Harwell), p. 516.
  118. (Letter from George Washington to Marquis de Lafayette, December 8, 1784).
  119. Washington Irving, Life of George Washington, Volume III, p. 260.
  120. Douglas Southall Freeman, "Washington's Hardest Decision, The Atlantic Monthly, October 1952.
  121. Blaine Harden, "First President's Childlessness Linked to Disease," Washington Post, February 29, 2004.
  122. Michael Burlingame and John R. Turner Ettlinger, Inside Lincoln's White House: The Complete Civil War Diary of John Hay, p. xii.
  123. John Russell Young, Men and Memories, p. 456 (from Munsey's Magazine, October, 1898).
  124. Stuart Leiberger, Founding Friendship: George Washington, James Madison, and the Creation of the American Republic, p. 190.
  125. James G. Randall, "Lincoln and the Governance of Men," The Abraham Lincoln Quarterly, Volume VI, June 1951, No. 6, p. 331.
  126. (Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Walter Jones, January 2, 1814).
  127. James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799), p. 489.
  128. William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, Herndon's Life of Lincoln, p. 473.
  129. Theodore Calvin Pease, editor, Diary of Orville Hickman Browning, Volume I, p. 600 (December 18, 1862).
  130. Robert E. Jones, George Washington: Ordinary Man, Extraordinary Leader, p. 27.
  131. Henry Wiencek, An Imperfect: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America, p. 95.
  132. Edmund S. Morgan, The Meaning of Independence: John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, p. 33.
  133. Edmund S. Morgan, The Meaning of Independence: John Adams, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson, pp. 44-45.
  134. Douglas Southall Freeman, Washington (Abridgment by Richard Harwell), p. 517.
  135. (Letter from James McHenry to Margaret Caldwell, December 23, 1783).
  136. Richard Norton Smith, Patriarch, p 351.
  137. (Letter from George Washington to James McHenry, May 29, 1797).
  138. Henry Clay Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln, p. 237.
  139. Henry Clay Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln, p. 122.
  140. Henry Clay Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln, p. 122.
  141. Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, Volume II, p. 401.
  142. Garry Wills, Certain Trumpets: The Nature of Leadership, p. 154.
  143. Richard Norton Smith, Patriarch, p. 358.
  144. James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell (1793-1799), pp. 467, 479.
  145. Adolphe de Pineton, Marquis de Chambrun, Impressions of Lincoln and the Civil War: A Foreigner's Account, pp. 21-23.

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