Wednesday, June 27, 2012

George Washington - Planter To President

In temper and outlook George Washington had little in common with such radicals of the Revolution as Samuel Adams and Thomas Paine. He was a well-to-do planter, who felt the pinch of British imperial control in matters involving his daily activities, such as, restrictive trade laws on the export of tobacco, laws taxing tobacco from one colony to another, levying colonial taxes, and laws prohibiting colonists from taking up western lands to relieve their burdens of debt due to poor crop production.
Young George Washington In The Military
When not yet twenty-one, Washington began his remarkable military career. Shortly after he was appointed major in the Virginia militia, he was delegated by Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia to carry to the commander of the French forces on the Ohio River the momentous message which precipitated the French and Indian War by demanding, in the name of King George II, that the French withdraw from the Ohio Valley.
Young Washington's heroic efforts in defending Fort Necessity, his heroism in the attack of General Braddock's army on the Monongahela, and his participation as colonel of a Virginia regiment in the taking of Fort Duquesne were the start of his brilliant military career.
Washington Returns Home
After the British defeated the French at Fort Duquesne, George Washington resigned his military command, married, settled at Mount Vernon, and continued his life as a planter. He took a relatively unimportant part in the agitation against British measures adversely affecting the colonies from 1759 to 1774.
However, when the British "Intolerable" Acts of 1774, directed chiefly against Boston and Massachusetts, but threatening the freedom of all the colonies, led to the assembling of the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, George Washington was one of the Virginia delegates.
When war broke out, a commander-in-chief of the united colonial forces was required. Washington was the logical choice because of previous military service. As commander-in-chief, Washington's greatest feat probably was keeping his men together after the dis-heartening defeat at Fort Washington on Upper Manhattan Island. He gathered the remnants of his army together and defeated the British at Trenton and Princeton.
Character Of A Hero
At war's end in 1782, George Washington faced perhaps the biggest crisis of his career, one that would define his character as a great American hero. His men had forgone pay for as much as six years during the war, with a nearly bankrupt Congress, considering a permanent non-payment of the troops.
Washington himself was approached to lead an armed rebellion against Congress to allow him to be set up as king, but these men did not understand his character. He responded with these words, "You could not have found a person to whom your schemes are more disagreeable", "Banish these thoughts from your minds."
On March 15, 1783, Washington met with the men in Newburgh, New York. "Gentlemen", he spoke, addressing a crowded room, "As I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common Country; as I never left your side one moment, but when called from you on public duty; as I have been the constant companion and witness of your Distresses... it can be scarcely be supposed... that I am indifferent to your interests. But... this dreadful alternative, of either deserting our Country in the extremist hour of her distress, or turning our Arms against it,... has something so shocking in it that humanity revolts from the idea... I spun it, as every man who regards liberty... undoubtedly must." Washington, by his selfless example, had shamed the conspirators out of their plot.
President George Washington
When the war ended in 1783, Washington resumed his life as planter and land promoter at Mount Vernon. In less than four years he was called from his comfortable life as private citizen and asked to lead the Virginia delegation to the Convention at Philadelphia, called to strengthen the Articles of Confederation.
He was elected President of the government established under the Constitution framed at the Convention. For the next eight years, as President, his integrity made it possible for him to command general respect; and as a Federalist, a believer in strong central government, and a conservative in matters of credit and finance, he helped to establish the young republic firmly in the eyes of its own citizens, as well as of Europe. In 1797, George Washington returned to Mount Vernon where he died two years later in December 1799 a great American hero.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why Is Reading a Key to Student Success?

Statistics indicate that only about one in four Americans read a book per year. The one greatest deficiency employers note in their employees is poor reading and writing skills, and companies spend billions each year on remedial courses for workers. J. C. Penney stated, "One of the saddest mistakes I made in years gone by was my utter neglect of reading." Abigail Van Buren said, "If I could give young people only one piece of advice, it would be read, read, read!"
Back in the day when books were less common and more expensive, the great preacher, Spurgeon, urged people to buy only the best most profitable books-those that would do the reader the most good. Locke follows up on that challenge with his statement that "reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read our own."
Nowadays in Western society some formal education is available for most of the young, and, where it is available, of course it should be enjoyed. However, the crucial value of reading cannot be over-emphasized. Dozens of famous and very productive individuals became successful largely through reading.
It is not secret that Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) left school at the age of thirteen for a learning pilgrimage which included stints as a delivery boy, grocery clerk, blacksmith's helper, typesetter, and river boat pilot. He became one of the most renowned writers in American history.
Abraham Lincoln failed twice in business before he reached the age of twenty-five, had a nervous breakdown and failed in seeking public office eight times before being elected the sixteenth president of the United States. In spite of the odds against him, Lincoln was a self-educated lawyer with not even a year of formal schooling. He is said to have walked for miles in pursuit of books, and, although he couldn't avail himself of multitudes of books, he set out to thoroughly understand everything he did read.
Research establishes that almost four million children in the United Kingdom do not even own a book. This causes concern that the rate of children growing up without books is rising, not falling. Youngsters from families of a lower economic level are even more likely to miss out. A recent report by the National Literacy Trust reported in a survey of 18,000 youngsters that almost a third - 3.8 million - do not have books of their own. And the figure has increased from seven years ago, the last time the poll was conducted, when it stood at one in ten.
These statistics also reveal that boys are more likely to be without books than girls, and children eligible for free school meals - a measure of poverty - are more likely to not own a book. The findings, not unsurprisingly, indicate that children who do own books are more likely to enjoy reading, read more books and read more frequently. They are also more likely to perform better at school. Just 7.6 percent of pupils who possess books of their own are reading below the expected level, against 19 percent of those that do not own books. This reflects cause for great concern. Researchers also concluded that 75% of children who read nine or more books a month read above the level expected of them, compared with 28.6% of those who read no books in a month. We must make good books available to our children. Then we must get our children reading by giving them books that will hook their interests. The statistics are almost guaranteed to be no better in the United States.