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Review of His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis


Before I started His Excellency: George Washington, it had been far too long since I read a good book about the Founding Fathers or the American Revolution; I believe the last two were Without Precedent and Washington’s Crossing. Sure, those reviews were relatively recent, but with all the Founders did for our nation and with how instructive their views on American politics and the Constitution can be in mind, I believe that it is important to read about them as frequently as possible so that we remember their sacrifices and achievements.

So, to correct that and read more about early Americans, I read His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis recently and I think it is one of the best comprehensive books about George Washington that I have so far read. I highly recommend you order a copy and do the same. Reading about the Founding Fathers is important, they’re the ones that set up our wonderful republic and created the other aspects of the great system that we know and love.

Reading about George Washington is even more important. Without him, none of it would have been possible. The war likely would have been lost without his campaign to keep the Continental Army alive. The Continental confederation of states might have fallen apart without his leadership. The Constitution might have not been created or enacted without his leadership. And early America might have collapsed under the weight of the disagreements of its constituent parts had Washington not served as our first president.

Without Washington, none of this could have happened. He was, as Glenn Beck says in Being George Washington, the “indispensable man.” You’ll learn all that and more by reading His Excellency: George Washington. I recommend you do so today!

Summary of His Excellency: George Washington

His Excellency: George Washington is a comprehensive yet concise book on the life of George Washington, who is, in my mind, not only the greatest American president, but also the greatest American to have ever lived.

His foresight, sense of duty, commitment to living a life of virtue, dedication to the creation of a thriving America, and restraint while in positions of power all made him an amazing man and excellent role model.

Ellis makes sure to show that in His Excellency: George Washington. Unlike many modern Americans, who only know about and focus on Washington’s ownership of slaves, Ellis does his best in His Excellency: George Washington to present a truthful and contextual picture of Washington. Yes, he describes how Washington’s slave ownership presents a contradiction in his views on liberty, but Ellis also notes that Washington himself was deeply conflicted about owning slaves and did his best to correct that contradiction in his final years.

But that topic, slavery, is only a subnote of His Excellency: George Washington. Like Douglas Southall Freeman, author of Lee’s Lieutenants, Ellis doesn’t let modern anger about slavery ruin his book. Instead, he gives a full and glowing telling of Washington’s life.

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Washington’s service in the French and Indian War, business acumen while managing Mount Vernon and his other estates, skillful generalship in the Revolutionary War, balancing act between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists and their respective pro-British and pro-French tendencies as president, and final years at Mount Vernon are all described in intimate detail.

George Washington Later in Life

And that portrait of Washington that Ellis paints in His Excellency: George Washington is a masterful one that fully shows just how amazing of a man Washington was. He fought for his country when he felt the call of duty, went above and beyond to secure the survival of that nation, and (most) always acted with the dignity and grace that most of us remember about him.

In short, he was perhaps the only man who could have done what he did. Few others would have stepped down from both command of the Continental Army and the Presidency, nor could anyone else have acted with the restraint and foresight necessary to ensure the survival of the American republic. Reading His Excellency: George Washington will help you recognize that fact if you don’t already.

Analysis of His Excellency: George Washington

I loved every page of His Excellency: George Washington. It was far better than even Washington’s Crossing in its portrait of America’s greatest leader. And make no mistake, George Washington was America’s greatest leader and someone we should honor.

Perhaps the best part about it was that Ellis doesn’t let modern prejudices get in the way of the truth about Washington. Despite what modern race-baiters might tell you, slavery didn’t define him; his service to our nation did. And that level of service was truly remarkable. As I stated earlier, few others, if anyone, could have shown the remarkable level of sacrifice and restraint that Washington did. He didn’t profit from his office, didn’t try to become a monarch, and always gave up power when he knew he should; that is truly remarkable. Unlike our modern politicians, George Washington was almost without fault.

History is never clear-cut. We need to examine it as Ellis does- objectively. Not with our modern prejudices clouding our judgement of historical characters.

Additionally, His Excellency: George Washington is unique in that it covers such a long and action-packed amount of time without being too long or dry. Far from it, in fact, Ellis keeps his writing concise and interesting. I thought that was excellent because few people, even if they know something about George Washington, do not know much about his early career or management of Mount Vernon. Those aspects of his life are important because they show his character; and with Washington, his character is key to the person.

Overall, His Excellency: George Washington is a book that you need to read if you want to learn about America’s greatest Founding Father. That is just what Americans need right now, as our Founding Fathers come under attack from all angles. We need to hear the truth about those Founders, not lies about them from judgemental modern Americans using history to suit their political agenda. And make no mistake, the Democrat political agenda is aligned with attacking Washington and erasing his legacy.

Conclusion: George Washington is Worth Honoring and Ellis Shows that in His Excellency: George Washington

Buy and read His Excellency: George Washington. You won’t be disappointed. In this age of contentious and divisive politics, it’s an absolute pleasure to read about a better America and great American. All Americans used to know that George Washington was a great man. It is only recently that Americans have for, some reason or other, disowned him.

There are many reasons for that, of course. The riots over George Floyd’s death have led to a reexamination of America’s history. The fight over the Confederate monuments have led some to attack all of American American history with which they disagree. And, naturally, some of those people have ended up attacking George Washington and trying to erase his legacy.

I think that they are only attacking him and his legacy because they know so little about him and what he did for the republic. There will always be a few who will attack him and his legacy no matter what because he owned slaves. But, I think that if more people read books such as His Excellency: George Washington and learned more about him, they would not be so harsh and would instead understand historical intricacies.

Joseph J. Ellis, for example, gives a full telling of Washington’s life, including his slave ownership. But he does not let the fact that Washington owned slaves distract him from the fact that Washington was a great man and one well-worth our honor, praise, and respect.

The lesson in all that? Read books like His Excellency: George Washington and encourage others to do the same. The past is almost never pretty. In Washington’s case, there is the issue of his slave ownership. But, it is generally a positive. In fact, it is overwhelmingly positive. And that fact is one that Americans need to remember. Because of George Washington, we now are able to live in the greatest country on Earth. Without him, none of that would have been possible. We should honor him for his contributions, not attack him for a singular fault.

By: Gen Z Conservative