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on January 1, 2013
George Washington: A Collection is a nice one volume sampling of the writings, papers, etc. of the first president of the United States edited by W. B. Allen and published by Liberty Fund that spans over his adult life (1756-1799). The book is well organized into fourteen different chapters that include several different pieces that correspond to the given chapter. Each chapter also contains interesting headnotes which are a useful setup that goes well with the contents of each chapter. Readers should keep in mind that this is just a small sampling of Washington's writings. Although this is a good resource it is in no way definitive, his collected works I believe run around 40+ volumes.

The content of this work varies from letters to presidential addresses. Contained in this collection are letters to such notables as Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and his good friend Lafayette to lesser known individuals such as President James Warren, and Major General Nathanael Greene.

The collection contains some of Washington's more memorable writings such as his noteworthy farewell address that included thoughts on faction, morality, education (diffusion of knowledge), foreign policy and permanent alliances among other subjects. Washington's farewell address took four months before it was published on September 19, 1796 and enlisted the help Madison, Hamilton and John Jay to complete the address. Found in the epilogue is Washington's Last Will and Testament (July 9, 1799) which another notable piece of writing in which Washington calls for the emancipation of his slaves, among other topics.

Continuing on the topic of slavery is an interesting part of a 1786 letter Washington sent to his good friend Lafayette. Washington comments on the "benevolence" of Lafayette's heart as he purchased an estate in the colony of Cayenne with the intent of emancipating all the slaves. In the same letter Washington discussed his support for gradual emancipation as he stated, "To set them afloat at once would, I believe, be productive of much inconvenience and mischief; but by degrees it certainly might, and assuredly ought to be effected; and that too by legislative authority." However, at the time as Washington noted that the petitions for the abolition of slavery presented to the assembly were seldom read and ignored. He also mentions support for the idea three years earlier (1783) to Lafayette.

Overall this is a good one volume collection of Washington's writings that covers a broad range of topics. I would recommend this for purchase.

The fourteen chapters are divided up as follows:

1. The Rules of Bravery and Liberty 1756-1775
2. Tyranny: The Scourge of Liberty 1775-1777
3. The Passions of Men and the Principles of Action 1778-1780
4. Trials and Triumph 1780-1781
5. Washington's Knowledge of Himself and His Army 1782-1783
6. Washington's Knowledge of His Countrymen 1783
7. The General Resigns 1783
8. The Citizen Stirs 1784-1786
9. Making a Constitution 1786-1788
10. The Drama of Founding 1788-1789
11. Presidential Addresses 1789-1796
12. Washington the President 1789-1791
13. Trials of Division 1792-1796
14. A Work Completed 1796-1799
15. Epilogue
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on April 29, 2012
Many books that you might read about the founding and the people that designed it will use quotes from these letters, speeches, and journals. Many will misquote (intentionally or not), inaccurately cut and paste (intentionally or not), or just plain "pooch it" when it comes to the words of Washington. I bought this book so that I could read the whole letter, the complete speech, or the full article and see the context of the words. This book isn't a reader, it's a resource, if you read this cover to cover you'll be bored silly. Go to it to check, verify, or debunk what you read elsewhere. In this age of socialist revisionism, you can't take anything about the founders and their work for granted, original correspondence is critical in it's ability to clear away the crap and propaganda. This book is perfect for that purpose and I highly recommend it. George Washington once again becomes a living, breathing, and understandable human being. You no longer have to accept a declared belief of Washington based on the interpretation of some silly socialist with an agenda, now you can hear the truth directly from the man himself.
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on January 7, 2015
This collection of Washington's writings gives an insight into the man that public education doesn't come close to. His mastery of the English language, and his sober use of it, gives us a rare glimpse into the Soul of George Washington and his unique view of the period.
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on April 19, 2010
This is a great way to round out your knowledge of our most indispensable American. These are letters and insights showing feelings and frustrations of our first commander and President. Ironically, Congress didn't work any better then than now, i.e. supplying the army. These writings are a real in-depth look at life and dedication; selflessness and conscious sacrifice. Something to think about when voting for a representative! Today's politicians just don't compare.
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on February 10, 2014
I chose this rating because it represents my impression of the letters of George Washington. Such a collection needs to be on hand to present the person in his/her own words; to be allowed into the mind of the individual; to be allowed to see how the person thought.
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on January 9, 2017
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on June 7, 2011
This was a great review of George Washington's life. This book is a collection of his journals and letters he wrote to people. This book gives great insight into what shaped Washington's political theory from teenage years to adulthood. The only issue I had was reading what seemed like his whole life'story. Some letters and journals were not relevant, in my viewpoint, to the development of Washington into the great founder that he was. I was highly bored reading what seemed like this man's day to day life's activities.
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