George Washington

by Grant Wood (1892—1942)

Oil on canvas. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX.

by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863—1930)

Oil on canvas. One of the 78 scenes from American history by Ferris titled The Pageant of a Nation. Virginia Historical Society, Ric

by Junius Brutus Stearns (1810—85)

Oil on canvas; height: 95.25 cm (37.5 in), width: 137.16 cm (54 in). Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA.

by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816—68)

Oil on canvas; 149 x 255 in. (378.5 x 647.7 cm). Painted in the artist’s studio in Düsseldorf, Germany.

by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (1816—68)

Oil on canvas; approximately 23 ft. x 13 ft. Roger W.

by Gilbert Stuart (1755—1828)

Oil on canvas; 73 x 60.5 cm (28 3/4 x 23 13/16 in). National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by Rembrandt Peale (1778—1860)

 

by Rembrandt Peale (1778—1860)

Oil on canvas. 73.02 x 60.01 cm (28 3/4 x 23 5/8 in). Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

by Rembrandt Peale (1778—1860)

Oil on canvas; 71.5 inches x 53.25 inches (181.6 cm x 135.3 cm). U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

by Rembrandt Peale (1778—1860)

Oil on canvas; 137 1/2 x 120 1/2 in. (3.5 x 3 m). Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

For all their artistic and philosophical brilliance, the Greeks were failures at politics; Hamilton, in the Federalist, expressed horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were agitated. The Romans captured the American imagination because they had done what the Americans themselves hoped to do — sustain an extensive republic over a course of centuries. So the society of Revolutionary War officers called themselves Cincinnati; president, congress, and senate were all Roman terms. But the Roman example was also cautionary, for when they lost their virture, they slid into empire. When Franklin said, in response to a question from Eliza Powel, that the constitutional convention had produced a republic, if you can keep it, he and she would have remembered that the Romans had failed to keep theirs.

Richard Brookhiser
Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington (1996)