George Washington hanged enemies threatening America on its own soil, but was more lenient to its citizens, author Logan Beirne tells Newsmax TV.
“George Washington was a warrior. He would fiercely defend us from foreign threats,” said Beirne, author of “Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency.”
At the same time, he allowed his mind to overrule his initial gut instinct, when it came to similar matters involving Americans, Beirne tells Newsmax.
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“Washington never lost sight of exactly what he was defending,” Beirne said. “He was defending our liberties. So he would be very hesitant to take away the rights of an American citizen.”
But that doesn’t rule out the death penalty, even for American citizens, he notes. While Washington was ready to smite anyone attacking his nation, if that person was an American citizen he would defer to civilian authorities, who history shows also invoked the death penalty.
When Washington caught two of Benedict Arnold’s co-conspirators, one was a British officer, the other an American citizen. Washington had the British officer hanged after a couple of days, but allowed the American to have a lengthy trial by civil authorities. The man ended up not being convicted.
While Washington has been considered a model for other presidents, Beirne says the first president was not a great orator – his dentures garbled his speech – and wasn’t a great tactician, losing more battles than he won.
“What he was was an inspiration,” Beirne tells Newsmax. “He had the ability to unite a divided nation.”
The nation was just as divided in Washington’s time just as it is today, he said. “We had North versus South, we had Connecticut bickering with New York,” he said. “The states really were bickering little commonwealths. But Washington was able to unite them behind this common cause of liberty and his unwavering devotion to this higher ideal.”
Beirne believes Washington wouldn’t have told people to remain indoors in Boston while the bombing suspect was being sought. As one of the crafters of the Second Amendment he would have encouraged the public to aid in the hunt, he said.
“And it’s interesting to find out that it’s when they lifted the curfew and the man came outside of his house and saw the bloody boat that really was a decision to me that is our strength. And, for Washington, part of that strength was keeping (the public) armed.”
The Founding Fathers would be “shocked and appalled” at the current size of the federal government, Beirne said. Even the ones who favored the strongest federal government were dedicated to states’ rights.
Debt payments also were a priority, he said, so the current national debt would also have been troubling for Washington and other Founding Fathers.
“Everything really was on the table for George Washington when it came to funding debt payments, Beirne said. “He did impose more tariffs. He was willing to raise taxes somewhat, not necessarily what we’re talking about today, but that was on the table.”
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