The Fate of A Nation - An essay contrasting George Washington and Macbeth

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 1997

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The Fate of a Nation

George Washington and MacBeth were two historic figures who were influential in determining the fate of their nation. Both were ambitious men living during perilous times, yet each charted a different course for himself and his country when faced with the lure of power. Washington fulfilled his ambitions by devoting his life to creating a nation, while MacBeth was ignorant his responsibilities to his country, in turn destroying it and himself.

Throughout his whole life, Washington yearned for power. As a young man, he wanted this power as a British officer. Later, as a Virginia gentleman, he sought power in the forms of honor and wealth. His ultimate rise to power eventually came when he was pronounced general of the colonial militia in the war against Britain. It was under his command that the colonial militia emerged victorious against the British. However, in defeating the British another threat to American democracy had been released.

This threat was Washington himself. Washington had the colonial militia under his control. He could have easily performed a 'coup d'état' and seized control of the newly freed nation. However, Washington's ambitions were not to become a dictator, or king. He believed that power did not come from controlling others, but from the honor and respect that was given to him. Washington knew that this power would only come from subordination to civilian authority. He would be a precedent by being the first general to turn down his immense powers. With these actions, Washington assured the success of a new democratic nation.

MacBeth, like Washington, was power hungry and very successful in war. However, he felt that power came from wealth and control over his subordinates. As a king, MacBeth abused his power. His first priority was to secure his...