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Founding father knows best

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Gen. George Washington could have established himself as king of America. He chose not to.

Believing that citizens could govern themselves in a democracy, Washington sent a letter to the states urging them to strengthen the Articles of Confederation, adopted in 1781, by forming a central government with enough power to hold the states together. Privately, he confided that he wasn’t sure whether the states would go along with setting up an adequate government. (It would take a local rebellion in 1786 to convince them.)

Washington also exhorted state leaders to pay the soldiers who had fought for freedom.

Then, late in 1783, after making sure the last British troops left New York, Washington resigned his commission in the military. He had outlasted four British commanders.

The victorious general, in stepping down, helped his fledgling nation remain a free republic, not another monarchy under another King George.

Lesson: Sacrifice yourself for the good of your people and your mission. It may not benefit you in the short term, but you will be remembered and appreciated long afterward.

—Adapted from George Washington for Kids, Brandon Marie Miller, Chicago Review Press.

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