The Return of George Washington: Uniting the States, 1783-1789
By the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, a brilliant and essential reconsideration of George Washington's "lost years" between the Revolution and presidency that will forever change our understanding of the Founding Era.
In this groundbreaking new look at our foremost Founding Father, Edward J. Larson masterfully chronicles how George Washington saved the United States by coming out of retirement to lead the Constitutional Convention and serve as our first president.
In December 1783, Washington, the most powerful and popular man in America, stunned the world by stepping down as commander in chief and returning to private life as a farmer and landowner. Yet as Washington found happiness in successfully growing his Virginia estate, the fledgling American experiment foundered under the Articles of Confederation. When a Constitutional Convention was called to forge a new government, its chances of success were slim. Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and other leaders realized only one American—the retired hero George Washington—could unite the fractious states. After months of anguish, Washington answered the call and left his beloved Mount Vernon in the spring of 1787 to preside over the convention in Philadelphia. Although Washington is overlooked in most accounts, Larson uncovers Washington's vital role in shaping the Constitution—and shows, as never before, how it was only with Washington's spirited behind-the-scenes influence that the delegates passed, and the states later ratified, the founding document that has guided our government to this day.