George Washington: The Making of a Leader

Time Period
1623 to 1763
1764 to 1824
Media Type
American Revolution
Military History
Politics & Government
David O. Stewart

In this lecture, historian David O. Stewart discusses his new book, George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father.

Washington’s rise constitutes one of the great self-reinventions in history. In his mid-twenties, this third son of a modest Virginia planter had ruined his own military career in the French and Indian War through poor judgments and brash overreaching. By his mid-forties, that headstrong, unwise young man had evolved into an unassailable leader chosen as the commander in chief of the fledgling Continental Army. By his mid-fifties, he was unanimously elected the nation’s first president. How did Washington—with a scanty education and little inherited wealth—grow from his failures on the Virginia frontier to become the central founder of the United States of America?

David O. Stewart turned to writing after a career practicing law in Washington, D.C. He is a national bestselling and award-winning author of several previous books on American history, including Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America; American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson's America; The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution; and George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

Want to listen to an audio-only version of this lecture? Listen now on Soundcloud.