Thursday, December 13, 2007

Washington Post article ~ Maryland purchase of General Washington's Resignation Speeh

Monday, 19 February anno domini 2007
George Washington Birthday Federal Holiday

Maryland to Unveil the Page That Began a New Chapter
George Washington's Resignation Speech Left the U.S. Military in Civilians' Hands

(Portions of article below, click on link to read the entire article.)

It was a speech so moving the crowd wept. It was a speech so personally important George Washington's hand shook as he read it until he had to hold the paper still with both hands. After the ceremony, he handed the thing to a friend and sped out the door of the State House in Annapolis, riding off by horse.

Today, however, amid festivities celebrating his birthday, Maryland officials plan to unveil the original document -- worth $1.5 million -- after acquiring it in a private sale from a family in Maryland who had kept it all these years. It took two years to negotiate the deal and raise money for the speech, which experts consider the most significant Washington document to change hands in the past 50 years.


The speech, scholars say, was a turning point in U.S. history. As the Revolutionary War was winding down, some wanted to make Washington king. Some whispered conspiracy, trying to seduce him with the trappings of power. But Washington renounced them all.

By resigning his commission as commander in chief to the Continental Congress -- then housed at the Annapolis capitol -- Washington laid the cornerstone for an American principle that persists today: Civilians, not generals, are ultimately in charge of military power.


By William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 19, 2007; Page A01

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