George Washington’s eerie foresight – History – Salon.com

23 Sep

When George Washington wrote of an American “Union” with “a government for the whole,” his vision was radical, perhaps foolhardy. Such a thing had never existed among a diverse people, across a vast continent, with no established royal or military authority. The Union of politically empowered citizens that Washington described was an aspiration more than a reality. It was a dream after two difficult decades of revolution, war, and reconstruction.

Washington’s vision was prophetic. He was ahead of his times. His contemporaries, especially in Europe, expected tyranny, anarchy, or the return of foreign empire in North America after the British defeat. …

George Washington’s eighteenth-century radicalism evolved into the twenty-first century’s conventional wisdom. The success of the American experiment in building a prosperous and democratic Union discredited other options. … Representative government for a large, diverse, and united population living in a dispersed but discrete territory — that became the contemporary standard for the modern “nation-state.” It was almost nonexistent during Washington’s lifetime.

via George Washington’s eerie foresight – History – Salon.com.

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