Thursday, February 23, 2006

Was George Washington perfect?

It's a machlokes. Henry C. Whitney held yes but Abraham Lincoln held no.
Years later, Whitney [a Lincoln legal colleague from 1850s] recalled a lengthy discussion about George Washington. The question for debate was whether the first president was perfect, or whether, being human, was fallible. According to Whitney, Lincoln thought there was merit in retaining the notion of a Washington without blemish that they had all been taught as children. "It makes human nature better to believe that one human being was perfect," Lincoln argued, "that human perfection is possible."
From Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, via Lamed.

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