George Washington as Commander of Continental Forces

Essay by chaz74High School, 10th gradeA+, September 2007

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On June 15, 1775, the Continental Congress unanimously elected George Washington as general and commander in chief of its continental army. Two weeks later, on July 3, Washington halted his horse under an elm on the common in Cambridge, drew his sword, and took command of the ragged band of men, which made up the continental army. In his general order of the following day, Washington made it clear what it was going to take to win the war: “... it is to be hoped that all distinction of colonies will be laid aside, so that one and the same spirit may animate the whole, and the only contest be, who shall render, on this great and trying occasion, the most essential service to the common cause in which we are all engaged.” Washington would prove to be an excellent military commander and leader. However, he was human. He made mistakes (some which nearly cost us our independence), but he kept fighting.

Despite his flaws, he proved to be a very good choice to lead our young nation to freedom from British oppression.

The decision by the Continental Congress to allow George Washington to lead the continental army was largely made possible by John Adams. One reason he was selected was because of his proven competence as a military commander. In the French and Indian War, he showed his aggressiveness, as well as his uncanny ability to adapt his strategies to the terrain. Another reason he was selected was because of the fact he was Virginian. Congress thought that this would unite the southern colonies, and convince them to support a rebellion, which was, for the time being, taking place in the North.

Washington’s performance as the commanding general of the Continental Army was, given the circumstances, exceptional. He...