His Excellency (2004)

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Description

Drawing from the newlycatalogued Washington papers at the University of Virginia, Joseph Ellis paints a full portraitof George Washington’s life and career–from his military years through his two terms as president. Ellis illuminates the difficulties the first executive confronted as he worked to keep the emerging country united in the face of adversarial factions. He richly details Washington’s private life and illustrates the ways in which it influenced his public persona. Through Ellis’s artful narration, we look inside Washington’smarriage and his subsequent entrance into the upper echelons of Virginia’s plantation society. We come to understand that it was by managing his ownlarge debts to British merchants that he experienced firsthand the imperiousness of the British Empire. And we watch the evolution of his attitude toward slavery, which led to his emancipating his own slaves in his will.