Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Chat: George Washington and the Presidency

Over at New Books in History, Marshall Poe interviews Logan Beirne, an Olin Scholar at Yale Law, on Blood of Tyrants: George Washington and the Forging of the Presidency (Encounter Books, 2013):
You sometimes see bumper stickers that say “What would Jesus do?”  It’s a good question, at least for Christians. You don’t see bumper stickers that say “What would Washington do?”  But that, Logan Beirne says, is a question Americans should be asking. In Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency (Encounter Books, 2013), Beirne shows that the American presidency was born as much out of the personality of one man–George Washington–as it was out of the political philosophies of the founding fathers. After all, the framers had never seen a presidency before–almost all previous states were led by monarchs, and that was not an option for the new American Republic. So they looked at Washington, what he had done during the Revolutionary War, and modeled the presidency after him. Not surprisingly since Washington was a military man, they got a presidency that was, well, rather martial. Listen in and find out why.

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