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An introduction to the geography, history, government, politics, economy, resources, people, and culture of Washington, D.C., including maps, charts, and a recipe.
Washington, D.C. is well known for its expansive mall and world famous monuments, but relatively little has been published about the district's historic neighborhoods, where residents have lived since its selection as the nation's capitol in 1790. This volume compares rare vintage photographs with contemporary views and paints a fascinating historical portrait of the dynamic neighborhoods that support the growth and prosperity of the nation's capitol. Then and Now: Washington, D.C. includes images of U Street's nightlife, produce and fish markets along the waterfront, the prestigious Congressional Cemetery of Capitol Hill, popular drinking holes on Pennsylvania Avenue, Orville Wright's groundbreaking test flight in 1909, and Georgetown's renowned Dodge Mansion radically changed over the years. These photographs, many of them never before published, shed new light on D.C.'s rich cultural, social, and architectural heritage.
"I never mean (unless some particular circumstance should compel me to it) to possess another slave by purchase; it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted, by which slavery in this country may be abolished by slow, sure and imperceptible degrees."—George Washington, September 9, 1786 No history of racism in America can be considered complete without taking into account the role that George Washington—the principal founding father—played in helping to mold the racist cast of the new nation. Because General Washington—the universally acknowledged hero of the Revolutionary War—in the postwar period uniquely combined the moral authority, personal prestige, and political power to influence significantly the course and the outcome of the slavery debate, his opinions on the subject of slaves and slavery are of crucial importance to understanding how racism succeeded in becoming an integral and official part of the national fabric during its formative stages. The successful end of the War for Independence in 1783 brought George Washington face-to-face with a fundamental dilemma: how to reconcile the proclaimed ideals of the revolution with the established institution of slavery. So long as black human beings in America could legally be considered the chattel property of whites, the rhetoric of equality and individual freedom was hollow. Progressive voices urged immediate emancipation as the only way to resolve the contradiction; the Southern slave owners, of course, stood firm for the status quo. Washington was caught squarely in the middle. As a Virginia plantation proprietor and a lifelong slaveholder, Washington had a substantial private stake in the economic slave system of the South. However, in his role as the acknowledged political leader of the country, his overriding concern was the preservation of the Union. If Washington publicly supported emancipation, he would almost certainly have to set an example and take steps to dispose of his Mount Vernon slaves. If he spoke out on the side of slavery, how could he legitimately and conscientiously expect to uphold and defend the humanistic goals and moral imperatives of the new nation as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? His was a balancing act that became more and more difficult to sustain with the passing years. Relying primarily on Washington's own words—his correspondence, diaries, and other written records—supplemented by letters, comments, and eyewitness reports of family members, friends, employees, aides, correspondents, colleagues, and visitors to Mount Vernon, together with contemporary newspaper clippings and official documents pertaining to Washington's relationships with African Americans, Fritz Hirschfeld traces Washington's transition from a conventional slaveholder to a lukewarm abolitionist. George Washington and Slavery will be an essential addition to the historiography of eighteenth-century America and of Washington himself.
The effect of this "single, immortal, and dubious anecdote," and others like it, has made this book one of the most influential in the history of American folklore. The first republication of the book since 1927, it is unique in its detailed commentary on Weems and other biographers of Washington.
Walt Whitman was already famous for Leaves of Grass when he journeyed to the nation's capital at the height of the Civil War to find his brother George, a Union officer wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Whitman eventually served as a volunteer "hospital missionary," making more than six hundred hospital visits and serving over eighty thousand sick and wounded soldiers in the next three years. With the 1865 publication of Drum-Taps, Whitman became poet laureate of the Civil War, aligning his legacy with that of Abraham Lincoln. He remained in Washington until 1873 as a federal clerk, engaging in a dazzling literary circle and fostering his longest romantic relationship, with Peter Doyle. Author Garrett Peck details the definitive account of Walt Whitman's decade in the nation's capital.
Late in 1787, George Washington wrote a rare autobiographical account of his service in the French and Indian War. He related his experiences in a compelling eleven-page narrative that includes a vivid account of Braddocks defeat in 1755 and a description of a friendly-fire incident in 1758 that involved the life of GW in as much jeopardy as it had ever been before or since." GEORGE WASHINGTON REMEMBERS makes this very personal and little-known document available for the first time and offers a glimpse of Washington in a self-reflective mood--a side of the man seldom seen in his other writings. The facsimile reproduction of Washington's "Remarks" is accompanied by an annotated transcript and original essays that place the work in the context of the French and Indian War and Washington's life. Lavishly illustrated, this remarkable book is essential for all interested in George Washington and our nation's founding period.
This “perceptive” and “satisfying” biography of George Washington by an award-winning historian “deserves a place on every American’s bookshelf” (The New York Times Book Review). James Thomas Flexner’s masterful four-volume biography of America’s first president, which received a special Pulitzer Prize citation and a National Book Award for its concluding installment, is the definitive chronicle of Washington’s life and a classic work of American history. In this single-volume edition, Flexner brilliantly distills his sweeping study to offer readers “the most convincing evocation of the man and his deeds written within the compass of one book” (Los Angeles Times). In graceful and dramatic prose, Flexner peels back the myths surrounding Washington to reveal the true complexity of his character. The only founding father from Virginia to free all his slaves, Washington was a faithful husband who harbored deep romantic feelings for his best friend’s wife. An amateur soldier, he prepared for his role as commander in chief of the Continental army by sending out to Philadelphia bookshops for treatises on military strategy. As president, he set many democratic precedents—including the two-term limit and the appointment of an advisory cabinet—yet routinely excluded his vice president, John Adams, from important decisions. The George Washington that emerges in these pages is a shrewd statesman, a wise commander, a brave patriot, and above all, “an ordinary man pushed to greatness by the extraordinary times in which he lived” (The Christian Science Monitor). In tracing Washington’s evolution from privileged son of the landed gentry to “the indispensable man” without whom the United States as we know it would not exist, Flexner presents a hero worthy of admiration not only for his remarkable strengths, but also for his all-too-human weaknesses.