Who freed America from King George, God or George Washington?
An irate atheist, disturbed that an American writer in a major US publication dared testify that thousands of years ago God freed Israel from Egyptian bondage and that the fundamental laws which followed the event – namely the ten commandments – were intended to be a universal freedom blueprint, wrote the following retort:
You must be a joke. How can anyone take you seriously, if you believe, as a matter of history, this: “The Lord stepped in and freed them”?
Did the Lord step in and free America from King George? No. George Washington stepped in.
But all joking and jokers aside, isn’t is sad that so many Americans have come to blindly trust the historical revisionists – who in fact are the ones whose sanity and scholarship ought to be questioned as they year after year, page after page, book after book, pit themselves and their pens against what is foundational, what is embedded, what is laced and linked to nearly every thought, every key event, and thus found in nearly every early history and in all so many of the personal journals, private and public letters, and speeches of the Founders themselves? Indeed, it is in those accounts, journals, letters, and speeches that we learn George Washington and his fellows never embraced the faithless, arrogant assumption that the Revolution in which they were long engaged was won by man’s brute and brawn and genius alone.
From the beginning of the War for Independence there was no doubt as to where Washington drew his strength and resolve and his hope for victory. When the First Continental Congress convened in 1774, and Thomas Jefferson called for a prayer to be offered, the Founders, each of them, in faith and humility bowed before their Maker. One delegate knelt. Bishop White, who was present, says that the kneeling man was George Washington. (1)
Congress, from that day forward, became a praying and a believing body of men. Recalled Benjamin Franklin, a dozen years later:
In the Beginning of the Contest with Britain, when we were sensible of Danger, we had daily Prayers in this Room for the Divine Protection. Our Prayers, Sir, were heard; – and they were graciously answered. All of us, who were engag’d in the Struggle, must have observed frequent Instances of a superintending Providence in our Favour. (2)
Indeed, the collective feeling of those men who produced the greatest and freest government in the history of the world was that they ought to rely upon God to strengthen their arms, and after having done so, and having been eyewitnesses to the remarkable, and at times miraculous results, were one in declaring without equivocation or qualification their conviction that God had intervened in America’s favor – or if you will, confirming the validity and fulfillment of Patrick Henry’s soul-stirring prophesy that “We shall not fight our battles alone.” (3)
No one defended this conviction more stoutly than General George Washington. To Joseph Reed, he wrote on January 4, 1776: “How it will end, God in his great goodness will direct. I am thankful for his protection to this time.” (4) To the Massachusetts legislature, several months later, he wrote: “The interposition of . . . Providence . . . has manifestly appeared in our behalf through the whole of this important struggle”; to which he then added this testimony and Heaven-directed plea: “May that being, who is powerful to save, and in whose hands is the fate of nations, look down with an eye of tender pity and compassion upon the whole of the United Colonies; may He continue to smile upon their counsels and arms, and crown them with success, whilst employed in the cause of virtue and mankind.” (5)
General George Washington knew if God was to be on America’s side America’s cause had to be just, America’s soldiers had to pray, and this too, that America’s soldiers must ACT like Christians. And so he believed, for instance, that using the Lord’s name in vain undermined an army’s strength. In 1776 he issued this order (an order he would repeat as occasion required):
The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing, a vice heretofore little known in an American army, is growing into fashion. He hopes the officers will, by example as well as influence, endeavor to check it, and that both they and the men will reflect that we can have little hope of the blessings of heaven on our arms if we insult it by our impiety and folly. (6)
Washington, as we see, was a level headed believer who saw faith and manly works as a sensible combination which pleases God. We need to engage in a “brave resistance … [to] conquer or die … [to engage in a] vigorous and manly exertion … [and to] rely upon the goodness of the Cause, and the aid of the supreme Being, in whose hands Victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble Actions,” (7) he said.
And consider this, the aid of the Supreme Being had worked SO VERY MANY “miracles for our deliverance” General Washington worried that the troops might become OVER-DEPENDENT upon the MIRACULOUS, and would thereby be tempted to stop “troubling [themselves] about the matter,” or in other words, to be tempted, not understanding God’s divine requirement to have our works match our faith, fail to do their manly duty, before God and man, in this pivotal moment in battle for freedom. (8)
Column space doesn’t permit a numbering of the numberless miracles wherein Washington’s troops were delivered by changes in the elements, impressions in Washington’s heart, the timely discovery of traitors, the sparing of the general’s life when surely he should have perished, and in that instant wherein the “just God who presides over the destinies of nations … raise[d] up friends to fight our battles for us,” (9) even the French, rich Jewish merchants, financiers in Holland, a number of leading British Statesmen such as Chatham and Burke, and still others.
Washington’s notes and letters are filled with this common theme:
The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations. (10)
And so let this author reveal his own witness and testimony: God raised up General George Washington to fight a Divine War, even a war for freedom and independence that was a necessary prologue to the establishment of what would be Our Divine Constitution, a Constitution raised up by the God of Heaven through men he had raised up, a Constitution which stands today as the standard of liberty to all the world if only we and the rest of the world would better know it, and keep it, and promote it, which, we should know, is our Divine Duty. How could it not be? This testimony runs through every fiber of my being. It does through many of you as well – so why should we ever deny it, and ever stop defending and promoting it?
To his credit, to the day of his death, George Washington, this great Believer Liberator, never took credit for the victory in the War for Independence, even when others gave him the opportunity – rather he always firmly rejected such unobservant and unwise and ungrateful reflections of men, giving the glory to God where HE KNEW it belonged.
Steve Farrell is Founder and Editor and Chief of the Moral Liberal, one of the original and most popular pundits at NewsMax.com (1999-2007), and the author of the highly praised inspirational novel, Dark Rose (Kindle Edition now available).
Schroeder-Lossing, Life and Times of Washington, 2:658.
Smyth, ed., Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 9:600-601, this being part of an appeal by Franklin that a chaplain be appointed from that day forward to pray over their sessions, and to pray over Congress later on, a religious tradition which lives to this day.
Henry, Patrick. “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.”
Fitzpatrick, ed., Writings of George Washington, 4:211-12.
Fitzpatrick, ed., Writings of George Washington, 4:441-42; and see 5:93.
Cousins, Norman. “In God We Trust,” 1958.
Fitzpatrick, ed., Writings of George Washington, 5:211.
Fitzpatrick, ed., Writings of George Washington, 7:456.
Henry, Patrick. “Give Me Liberty of Give Me Death.”
Fitzpatrick, ed., Writings of George Washington, 12:343.