Monday, April 15, 2019

Honor and Morals

I recenttly finished reading Brad Melzer and Josh Mensch's book, The First Conspiracy, The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington. I was reminded of some of the reason's Washington is so revered even today. Although our first president was at times embroiled in controversy (click here to read about the John Jay Treaty) he is almost universally regarded for his character and sense of honor. Melzer and Mensch comment on his "values of integrity, duty, and trust." For example, when Washington's name was proffered as a candidate for the command of the Continental army, he  simply disappeared. The book's authors report that he didn't "want it to look in any way as if he [was] hoping to win the position out of vanity or arrogance, or that he [was] somehow suggesting his own superiority over the others."

With that said, George Washington, can also be described as having feet of cay (see Daniel 2:31–33) since in his younger years "he seemed to have no problem profiting from [slavery], a practice we now regard as a moral atrocity." Nevertheless, "within a few years, [Washington] comes to believe that slavery is morally incompatible with the American ideals he and so many others fought for."

Reading these words reminded me of our 2011 Ocracoke Newsletter article about Slavery on Ocracoke. It explains the conflicted and complicated racial relationships on the antebellum Outer Banks, and illustrates changes in attitudes and behaviors over time.


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  1. Anonymous3:23 PM

    Outstanding book about a Outstanding man.
    It makes you wonder where men like him have gone. Who living today is even close having his character? Glad you got to read the book.NS

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