Monday, June 29, 2009

Washington as Landes Vater

I ran across an interesting fact today as I was doing some reading on our nation's first president. Washington is commonly referred to as "the Father of our Country" but did you know that the title was first given to him in a German-American publication? In 1778 he was called Landes Vater (literally, Land's Father or Father of the Land). It took off from there.

Sehr gut!


Tom Van Dyke said...

John Adams called him "Old Muttonhead."


Brad Hart said...

Yes, and Jefferson and Washington went to their graves refusing to speak to one another.

I wonder what choice terms Washington had for Adams.

Mark D. said...

Ha! One of the most overlooked facts of the Founding Period, at least in the popular imagination, is that many of the Founders couldn't stand each other. Not just among the top tier Founders either, but among the other tiers as well. And how nasty the first two contested elections were -- Adams-Jefferson, and then Adams-Jefferson again, followed by the fight in the House between Jefferson's supporters and Burr's supporters. Yikes.

Brad Hart said...

True that, Mark! I think one of my favorite letters between Adams and Franklin came from later in their lives, after they had kissed and made up. It's a letter where Jefferson basically asks Adams if he is looking forward to seeing the other founders in the afterlife. Adams responds by saying yes, with the exception of Franklin, who Adams believed still had to walk through hell for all the nasty things he had done. I'll have to find the exact letter. It would probably make for an interesting post. It may be a while, however, seeing as how I lended out my Adams/Jefferson letters book just the other day.

You gotta hate that. As soon as you loan out a book is when you end up needing the damn thing!

Tom Van Dyke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Van Dyke said...

If I may jump in from memory---Madison was GWashington's man until he changed sides and joined Jefferson, who had undermined Washington as GW's Secretary of State.

John Adams? Well, his greatest contribution was that he was there. The George Herbert Walker Bush of his time, a 1-term president after 2 terms served by a great man.

I'm actually not a big fan of Presidents 2-4. And 5 nobody knows all that much about. Didn't Monroe help bring down [perhaps future Federalist president] Alexander Hamilton in his sex scandal?

Weasels all. In fact, I've been working on a hypothesis, as yet totally unresearched and therefore unproved, that religion and sectarian rivalry was of such paramount importance at the Founding that America would take any weasel who wasn't "owned" by one of the Christian Protestant sects, all of which were at war with each other as the possessor of the "true" religion.

Anywayz, help me out on this, folks. a) They were weasels, b) They were attractive as unbeholden to any particular "church."

But let's keep up with the fun part first---a) They were weasels. Let's dig some dirt.


Me, I'd have preferred Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, or Bob Dole to any of 'em. Adlai Stevenson. Hubert Humphrey. Wendell Wilkie. Good men all.