American Philosophical Society

Signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat, second President; 1735—1826.
Son of John and Abigail Adams, diplomat, senator, sixth President, congressman; 1767—1848.
Philadelphia printer, writer, scientist, inventor, signer of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat to France; 1706—90.
Lawyer, architect, drafter of the Declaration of Independence, Virginia governor, diplomat, third President, founder of the University of Virginia; 1743—1826.
Merchant, planter, slave trader, president of Continental Congress; 1724—92.
Author, revolutionary, political philosopher; 1737—1809.

Washington’s ultimate success as the American commander in chief, however, never stemmed from his military abilities. He was never a traditional military hero. He had no smashing, stunning victories, and his tactical and strategic maneuvers were never the sort that awed men. Instead, it was his character and political talent and judgement that mattered most. His stoicism, dignity, and perseverance in the face of seemingly impossible odds came to symbolize the entire Revolutionary cause.

Gordon S. Wood
The American Revolution: A History (2002)