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George Washington's Final Battle
The Epic Struggle to Build a Capital City and a Nation
- Despite America's newly won independence, a bitter dispute over whether to have a capital and where to locate it almost tore the young nation apart. Few have written about the key role George Washington played in settling this question. George Washington's Final Battle recounts Washington's exceptional political skill and involvement in the placement of America's capital, moving it from New York to Philadelphia to the city that ultimately bore his name. Washington oversaw the surveying, negotiated land deals, raised funds, selected the architect, chose the final design, and altered the plans as the city took shape. He quietly worked behind the scenes to push for the Potomac River location. Washington visited various construction sites even after his presidency, making the federal city his last great contribution to public life. Robert P. Watson's book will fascinate not only historians but also a broad readership interested in the founding period, American presidency, and history of Washington, DC. This highly readable book relays a little-known tale of founding intrigue and an underappreciated side of Washington's political acumen and leadership. Though he died less than a year before President Adams moved into the White House, Washington's vision, influence, and talent for political compromise united a contentious country around a capital and a sense of nationhood.
- CONTENTS Preface Acknowledgments Chronology Introduction: The "Other" Founding Debates PART I. GEORGE WASHINGTON'S EARLY LIFE AND AMERICAN VISION1. Surveying a Future 2. Western Adventures 3. The Dispensations of Providence 4. Potomac Fever 5. Cincinnatus PART II. THE QUESTION OF A CAPITAL6. Swords in their Hands 7. Mutiny! 8. The Day the War Ended 9. A Singular Destiny 10. Fixing the Seat of Government 11. Political Architecture PART III. THE GREAT DEBATE12. Convention 13. Ten Miles Square 14. An Inauguration 15. New York City 16. The Great Debate 17. The (Second) Most Famous Dinner in History PART IV. CONFLICT AND COMPROMISE18. The Grand Compromise 19. Philadelphia 20. The Residence Act of 1790 21. The City of Washington 22. Financing the Capital PART V. BUILDING THE CAPITAL23. The Architect 24. Intrigues and Injuries 25. A Design Contest 26. Building the President's House 27. A House Divided PART VI. LEGACY28. Washington (Never) Slept Here 29. A Pedestal Waiting for a Monument 30. Temple of Liberty 31. The Father of His Country 32. 'Tis Well Epilogue: The Building Is in a State to Be Habitable Appendix A. Chronological List of Temporary Capitals Appendix B. List of Possible Locations for the Capital Notes Bibliography About the Author
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