Perhaps less well-known than George Washington’s astounding military victories is his steadying influence at the Constitutional Convention during the summer of 1787.
In her work Miracle at Philadelphia, Catherine Drinker Bowen notes that “Washington was unanimously elected president of the Convention” on May 25. She describes his demeanor over the course of the months that followed:
Washington showed himself firm, courteous, inflexible. When he approved a measure, delegates reported that his face showed it. Yet it was hard to tell what the General was thinking and impossible to inquire. In his silence lay his strength. His presence kept the Federal Convention together, kept it going, just as his presence had kept a straggling, ill-conditioned army together throughout the terrible years of war.
Thank you, General, not only for pursuing the military campaigns that made the Convention possible, but for guiding the Convention itself in the creation of our nation’s founding legal document. The greatest monument we can offer to Washington is to preserve and expand the Blessings of Liberty for which he so valiantly fought.
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