A new episode of the Madison presidency series is now available!
Feb. 19, 2017

1.02 – Washington Pre-Presidency Part Two

1.02 – Washington Pre-Presidency Part Two

Year(s) Discussed: 1764-1789

The colonies along the Atlantic seaboard declare independence and go to war with Great Britain, and George Washington is in the middle of all of the action. The lead up and the prosecution of the revolution would lift Washington from being just another Virginia planter to become “the Father of His Country” as he had to develop his skills as a politician, a military commander, a spymaster, and an administrator in order to ensure success for him and the colonial cause. In the midst of the social and political turmoil, personal tragedy struck the Washingtons at the beginning and the end of the Revolution, and the conclusion of the war would find Washington handing back all of the power that had been entrusted to him. His retirement would be short-lived as the new nation would soon find itself at a crisis point that only Washington could save them from.


  • Achenbach, Joel. The Grand Idea: George Washington’s Potomac and the Race to the West. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.
  • Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2000.
  • Brady, Patricia. Martha Washington: An American Life. New York: Penguin Books, 2006 [2005].
  • Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin Press, 2004.
  • Chernow, Ron. Washington: A Life. New York: Penguin Press, 2010.
  • Ferling, John. The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon. New York, Berlin, and London: Bloomsbury Press, 2009.
  • Ferling, John. John Adams: A Life. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010 [1992].
  • Flexner, James Thomas. Washington: The Indispensable Man. New York, Boston, and London: Little, Brown and Co, 1974 [1969].
  • Hawke, David. The Colonial Experience. Indianapolis, New York, and Kansas City: Bobbs-Merrill Co, 1966.
  • Isaac, Rhys. The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790. New York and London: W W Norton & Co, 1988 [1982].
  • Keyes, Nelson Beecher. Ben Franklin: An Affectionate Portrait. Garden City, NY: Hanover House, 1956.
  • Lancaster, Bruce. From Lexington to Liberty: The Story of the American Revolution. Lewis Gannett, ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co, 1955.
  • Larson, Edward J. The Return of George Washington, 1783-1789. New York: HarperCollins, 2014.
  • Markle, Donald E. The Fox and the Hound: The Birth of American Spying. New York: Fall River Press, 2014.
  • McCullough, David. John Adams. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001.
  • Miller, John C. Origins of the American Revolution. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1965 [1943].
  • Randall, Willard Sterne. Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2003 [1990].
  • Washington, George. “General Orders, 2 July 1776.” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 28, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-05-02-0117. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 5, 16 June 1776 – 12 August 1776, ed. Philander D. Chase. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993, pp. 179–182.]
  • Washington, George. “5 April 1776, to George Mason.” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 28, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-08-02-0132. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 8, 24 June 1767 – 25 December 1771, ed. W. W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993, pp. 177–181.]
  • Washington, George. “31 May 1775, to George William Fairfax.” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 28, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-10-02-0281. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 10, 21 March 1774 – 15 June 1775, ed. W. W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1995, pp. 367–368.]
  • Washington, George. “18 June 1775, to Martha Washington.” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 28, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-01-02-0003. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series, vol. 1, 16 June 1775 – 15 September 1775, ed. Philander D. Chase. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1985, pp. 3–6.]

For more information on the Revolutionary War, a few sources not used in the making of this episode are as follows:

  • Mike Duncan’s Revolutions Podcast – The second series of episodes is all about the American Revolution, and his podcast is also available on iTunes.
  • Bobrick, Benson. Angel in the Whirlwind: The Triumph of the American Revolution. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
  • DuVal, Kathleen. Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution. New York: Random House, 2016 [2015].
  • Middlekauff, Robert. The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005 [1985].
  • O’Shaughnessy, Andrew Jackson. The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2013.
  • Savas, Theodore, and J. David Dameron. A Guide to the Battles of the American Revolution. New York: Savis Beatie, 2010 [2006].
  • Symonds, Craig L, and William J Clipson. A Battlefield Atlas of the American Revolution. Nautical & Aviation Pub. Co. Of America, 1986.
  • Taylor, Alan. American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804. New York: W W Norton & Co, 2016.