Was Washington A Good Leader Essay, Research Paper
Washington: Good LEader?”The answer was that there was no one else. Washington was recognized as the indispensable man. Until the fighting was almost over, his leadership was not again seriously challenged.” During the Revolutionary War, there were some people who doubted Washington s leadership skills. George Washington possessed qualities that made him “indispensable.” He was a brigadier general of the Virginian forces during the French and Indian War. Forbe described him as “the army s greatest expert on the wilderness and it s warfare.” But Rochambeau thought that “Washington was a fool.” Washington possessed a new fighting style that he could only lead. This fighting style looked to others as if he did not know what he was doing. Was Washington really a good leader, or was he just an important part of a larger plan?Why was Washington chosen as the Commander in Chief of the American forces? Washington was chosen as leader because he was young, he did not want a salary, he did not waste anything, and, most importantly, “Washington was the most celebrated veteran of the French and Indian War.” Adams recognized Washington s charm, physical and intellectual power, and his youth and found him to be the perfect leader. Of all the leaders in the French and Indian War, was Washington the only leader left? For example, his superior officer Braddock could have been a leader, but he died in an Indian raid that miraculously only Washington survived. Other leaders during the war now were either old or dead. As Flexner put it, “Washington was the most celebrated veteran of the French and Indian War who was still young enough to lead a new contest. He possessed a charm combined with manifest physical and nervous power.” Washington himself knew that he was not the leader everyone thought he was. Flexner said, “Washington s memories of his activities during the French and Indian War did not encourage any confidence in his military gifts, and the task ahead seemed to call for genius. Washington told some of the Virginians to try to stop them from making him the Commander in Chief. But in the end, a unanimous decision made him the Commander in Chief. Now as the Commander in Chief, Washington had to live up to his expectations. During many times of the war, Washington had gotten help from other people. Washington knew from the very beginning that he had to have help. He begged for “help from four grasping men, each of whom concluded that the new Commander in Chief was to incompetent to get on without the help each condescendingly promised.” Two of these were soldiers, Horatio Gates and Charles Lee, and the other two were politically important businessmen, Joseph Reed and Thomas Mifflin. During the war, Lee saved Washington and his troops many times. At Fort Lee, Reed inserted in one of Washington s letters to Lee that “the entire army felt Lee s presence was their only hope.” Lee failed in his attempts to save and protect Washington and his troops, and so he finally decided to listen to Washington. But Washington let Lee use his own plan and temporarily let Lee lead because he knew that there was nothing he could do now. A German Volunteer named Lieutenant General Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin Baron von Steuben claimed to have been a high ranking official under Frederick the Great. He was neither a baron nor under Frederick the great; he was an impostor. But he proved to be an able drillmaster and open minded to the characteristics of the American Troops. Without Steuben, the troops would not have been noticed as a well-trained group of soldiers. The image of the American troops was of disorganized farmers. Washington had been given credit for his troops of being organized military men. To some extent Washington trained them, but Steuben also trained them. At Philadelphia, the British troops had two possible choices. Washington chose the wrong one the British would take, and so “he and the Continental Army had been made to look foolish, all the more by contrast by the Northern Army,” Gates army. He also planned attacks on Boston and New York because he thought that the French Navy was going to help him. Without the French Navy, he would not be able to win. Washington s war strategy was a strategy he had taken from the Indians. When Washington attacked Trenton, he used a type of hit-and-run raid he saw when the Indians attacked in the French and Indian War. His type of hit-and-run raid would be more sophisticated. Washington would attack from three different points so they could not escape, and he would attack on Christmas when they were relaxed. Washington s plans were always to complicated says Flexner. But only one of his three forces got across the river because it was during one of the severest winters. Washington actually benefited from the bad weather. This was not the first time that the weather helped him, when he should have lost. The German Troops, the Hessians, did not think that anyone would be stupid enough to go through the bad weather. Again, this was not the first time that Washington did something that no one else would have done because it was so stupid. But his plan worked, and the Hessians were caught of guard and they surrendered quickly. When Washington faced Howe and the British in Boston in the beginning of the war, another storm made Washington win when he should have lost. His troops were untrained with their weapons. They were not any match for the British professional killers. They ran away during the storm and managed to get into positions which made it strategically bad for the British so the British had to leave, and Washington claimed yet another victory.
While in New York, Washington had lost to Howe but he managed to get his troops away from the British soldiers who were marching in formation. Washington used his wilderness skills to lead his men in retreat. When Washington was being pursued by the Hessians by the Asunpink and the Delaware River, he made some of his troops stay to keep a fire lit. This made the British think that they had made camped and so the British stopped as well. But Washington led his men around the Hessians that left “a force stronger than his own between his army and all patriot held-territory.” The British knew of this strategy but even they knew hat what they were doing was crazy. In doing so, Washington cut his supply lines and also blocked his ways of retreat. But he caught the British by surprise and escaped. He developed a new type of war in which his troops did not need to carry out so many supplies and they were “as hard to catch as quicksilver.” During the battle of Monomuth, Washington s troops that were disorganized obeyed with readiness. Lafayette saw that Washington actually led them as a full and proper leader would. When the British tried to run, the Americans advanced like regular troops driving the professionals away.Washington also was a good leader because he did not kill the Tories. He just sent them to the enemy’s lines. Everybody loved Washington for the way he treated them and even the Tories. Washington wrote, “The misfortunes of was, and the unhappy circumstances frequently attendant thereon to individuals are more to be lamented than avoided; but it is the duty of everyone to alleviate them as much as possible.” This paid off because when Howe tried to recruit the Tories and Americans, he could not get any because they knew that Washington was good to them while Howe said they were not. He was also good to his troops. The French were surprised that these underaged, whites, blacks, unpaid, poorly fed, and almost naked men were in high spirits. Von Clisen said, “He is certainly admirable as the e leader of his army, in which everyone regards him as his father and fiend.” The British had been treated fair by Washington. He let the British take the American Tories and American deserters that went to the British army who would be killed by the Americans. He let the slaves be returned to their owners. He let the British Army become Prisoners of War. Washington possessed a new strategy that those who did not understand it, thought of him as a bad leader. Washington became the military and political dictator over Virginia. He entered the war as untrained in sophisticated warfare as his troops. But Washington made use of what he had. He made use of certain qualities of dedicated soldier who would march and fight in any danger; would fight with brilliance individually if not so well in formation; and exist on nonexistent supplies. In the end, “not a single officer was really powerful in the army who had not been elevated and trained by the Commander in Chief–and who was not loyal to him.” He had more than any political figure served as the nation s chief executive. He was the leader of the American troops and the American People. Was Washington a good leader or bad leader? He was the greatest leader during the revolutionary war. He had endured four British leaders. Washington was a great leader who made use of all the resources available to him: the soldiers, supplies, people, forces, the strategies. His strategy was the best the world has seen because it used a new strategy unseen by the world. And only a leader as good and great as him could be capable of leading the Continental Army.