THE MAILING LIST CATEGORIES ARCHIVES . Indispensable definition: If you say that someone or something is indispensable , you mean that they are absolutely... | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples In fact John Adams scoffed at the idea of an indispensable Washington or an indispensable anyone. They depended on militia, which their republican ideology glorified as free citizens in arms—a force far superior (or so they thought) to regular troops. Any notions of conspiracy or organized protest evaporated. Rather, today, he would be hissed and booed as a treasonous rebel upstart--sort of a Guy Fawkes type who had foolishly attempted to break free from a most benevolent British empire, JKM: Let’s start with some fundamental questions. One of the best statements in this regard came from a young infantry captain: He would be happy, he wrote home, to see Congress relieve any officer other than “his Excellency.” If Congress knew the bond the army had forged with its commander-in-chief, he concluded, no one ever would have thought to replace Washington with Horatio Gates. All Rights Reserved. He served as a model of resistance, the truly virtuous Revolutionary who would not go down without a serious fight. For Washington, defeating well-trained British forces dictated the need to establish “a respectable army” that would feature soldiers who agreed to long-term service, accepted arduous training and discipline, and would not split and run when facing massed British arms, no matter how battered and beaten they were. To which George III declared, “If Washington does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”. The Indispensable Man Is Only a Modern Myth Abstract: This publication contains reprint articles for which IEEE does not hold copyright. No. Definitely ambitious, Gates had proved himself a worthy staff officer, but greatness in line command leadership was well beyond his capacities. How so? In sum, Washington accepted military reality for what it was, and he worked hard to construct that kind of Europeanized force with reluctant assistance from most anti-standing army delegates in Congress. But this goes back to a Great Man being able to recognize the “historical moment” and knowing when to act. For them, he had become the embodiment of Revolutionary service and sacrifice, the “indispensable” leader around whom to rally, except during those times when camp and living conditions were so horrible that line mutinies broke out and threatened the army’s continued existence. The indispensable man by Conrad Black. Ships … Washington, however, refused to be cowed. In March 1783, with the army encamped at Newburgh, New York, awaiting word on a final peace treaty, resentments among the officers over congressional bad faith and neglect of financial settlements threatened to boil over. He had the stamina, courage, and determination to persist and endure in his military actions to help bring into being a less tyrannical world. The Indispensable Man HAROLD TAYLOR WEEKS From the December 2, 1961 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel "Each idea is essential to the divine purpose for which it is conceived" " There is no indispensable man. " He called the officers back to their senses in what has been labeled the new nation’s “most dangerous hour.” Through soothing words, he reminded them of the purpose and meaning of their service, that liberty must triumph over tyranny, that any thought of a coup against Congress was unthinkable. When serious campaigning got under way in 1776, Washington quickly proved that he would aggressively stand and fight, even with an army that was seriously deficient in proper combat training, especially going up against highly disciplined British and Hessian regulars. Our Digital Encyclopedia has all of the answers students and teachers need. Who else could have captured “the sentiments of the masses” (in this case the officer corps)? New Englanders knew they could not fight alone, and they needed a way to bring other colonies into the war. Anonymous circulars—although probably authored by Major John Armstrong, an aide to Major General Horatio Gates—called for protests and hinted at more. Read this poem in other languages. As the number of soldiers under Washington’s command declined over time, those who committed to long-term service learned to appreciate the importance of the kind of rigorous training and discipline that would bring about military victory. There was no one else capable of acting at the key moment. Not a subscriber to JSH-Online? Learn more. And Washington certainly had his share of luck: consider Brooklyn Heights when Howe failed to press his advantage against Washington’s trapped army. We are not really sure. The success of the Revolution depended on the success—or at least the effectiveness—of the Continental Army, and the army depended on Washington. He emotionally urged his officers not to blemish the record their common sacrifices had established. Take a bucket and fill it with water, Put your hand in it up to the wrist, Pull it out and the hole that's remaining, Is a measure of how much you'll be missed. So did other patriots including Signers such as Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Rush and the Massachusetts cousins John and Samuel Adams. Even Washington, in his acceptance speech on June 16, was not sure what he could accomplish. Seeds. Then there was reality. However, Lee made the mistake of being captured by the British while lingering in New Jersey during mid-December 1776, even as he plotted to take over command from Washington. Many of today’s academics would quickly deny this latter possibility. Report Reply. One Day 2. Washington had sense enough to listen to Rochambeau and seize the moment to march south to trap Cornwallis. TimesMachine is … FREE Shipping on orders over $25.00. But GMT insists that in key situations Great Men (and now we would say Great Women) can take charge and decisively shape events. His most recent books are The War for American Independence (ABC-CLIO, 2016), and the award-winning Fatal Sunday: George Washington, the Monmouth Campaign, and the Politics of Battle (University of Oklahoma Press, 2016, with Garry Wheeler Stone). But you’ve brought up Trenton and Princeton, and here is where Washington as the Great Man or “historical figure” begins to emerge. Was it the experienced British officer and well-known eccentric Charles Lee, or perhaps self-serving Horatio Gates, the onetime British major who had been wounded during Braddock’s Monongahela defeat? His critics were numerous. He did not take leave during that difficult winter, and he was seen virtually every day trying to do his best to provide food, shelter, clothing, and equipment for his army. There were alternative choices. After Valley Forge, and with inestimable assistance from Baron von Steuben, the soldiery more and more viewed Washington as an ideal commander who was always standing with them, regardless of daunting circumstances. Greatness for Washington, then, was not only because he came out, stayed out, and ultimately gained the laurels of victory in the War for Independence. "Indispensable Man" was originally published in "The Nutmegger Poetry Club under the name Saxon Uberuaga. Take a bucket and fill it with water, Put your hand in it up to the wrist, Pull it out and the hole that's remaining. But what really stood out to me, was how my great-grandfather chose to end his memoirs — with an anonymous poem called “The Indispensable Man”: Sometime when you’re feeling important; Sometime when your ego’s in bloom; Sometime when you take it for granted, You’re the best qualified in the room: Sometime when you feel that your going, There’s no indispensable man. We can say the same of the engagement at Princeton. “Discipline is the soul of the army,” he stated, and such was his operational approach to bringing order out of chaos. The Marquis Lafayette, Nathanael Greene, Henry Knox, and many other military and civilian leaders—and certainly Washington—came to believe that only professional soldiers could wage a long war and stand up to the redcoats. In entering the ranks of emeritus professors, he is now focusing on finishing two book projects, one on the “remarkable” American Revolution and one on George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the nature of Revolutionary leadership. If Washington wasn’t a Great Man yet, he was a logical and available man. Other contemporaries, however, felt differently, especially as the war went on. ML: He almost didn’t survive them. Critically important is strategic vision, at which Washington excelled. This location was close to the small town of Newburgh that hugged the western shore of the Hudson River, about sixty miles north of New York City. ML: “What would have happened?” This gets an easy answer: “Nothing good.” Look at all of the examples of Washington making the decisive decision, rallying “the masses” (that is, his army and then a broad spectrum of patriots), and bringing the range of skills he possessed to the patriot cause.  "  In using the term "indispensable man" I'm taking it straight, NOT in the sense that this poem implies. Details. L ik e all of Andrew Roberts’s histories, Churchill is massively researched and exquisitely written. As such, the “available man” was now emerging as the “indispensable” leader, a necessary step along the road to becoming a heroic “historical figure.”. Washington was already struggling to keep some semblance of a trained army in the field long before his Long Island debacle. Mark Edward Lender is Professor Emeritus of History at Kean University, Union, New Jersey, and he now spends his time as a full-time writer and historian (with breaks for travel and keeping up with very active grandsons). Is Aristotle Objectivism's "Indispensable Man? Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. Grinin uses the term “historical figure” rather than Great Man, and he spells out the circumstances under which a “historical figure” can emerge. Open 365 days a year, Mount Vernon is located just 15 miles south of Washington DC. Washington’s commitment to something greater than himself set him on a course toward becoming a “great person” for all time. Once his army survived Valley Forge and showed its mettle in combat at Monmouth in late June 1778, he remained in full command control for the rest of the war. We don't accept government funding and rely upon private contributions to help preserve George Washington's home and legacy. Militia simply lacked the training and the ability to keep the field for long periods. The Washington Library is open to all researchers and scholars, by appointment only. He never wavered from viewing the American Revolution as an instrument of human liberation–at no point perfect in his own time (or even our own) but an ideal that the maturing American republic might someday achieve. Hand in hand with attrition was exhausting the British, or stretching out the war until Crown officials saw more advantage to quitting the contest than continuing the fight. If a militia force got beaten, another supposedly would rise from the citizenry under new leaders. As he put it, he wanted “a respectable army.” Most historians of the War for Independence now agree that the Continentals were “indispensable” for the eventual American victory. As the war was ending, the king asked the well-known American born painter Benjamin West, then living in England, whether Washington would give up the power that was his as commander in chief and go peacefully home. JKM: When Washington arrived at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in early July 1775, he was appalled. What about John Hancock, the wealthy Massachusetts patriot with a smattering of militia experience who was then serving as the president (glorified secretary) of the Continental Congress? Need help with homework? The evacuation finally occurred in late November 1783 after the peace treaty between Britain and its former colonies had been officially signed. With no power of taxation and foreign loans (mostly from France) drying up, the delegates could do almost nothing to relieve the mounting tension. Until the day that machines are able to think, talk, and experience emotions, humans will remain the most complicated beings to manage. No doubt his presence at the head of the Continental army would encourage other colonies to the south of New England to get involved in supporting the rebellion. FREE Shipping on orders over $25.00. indispensable definition: 1. In so doing, he established the key principle for the new republic that military power must always remain subordinate to civilian authority. He was the man on the spot and at the right time, and he rose to the occasion when there was no one else who could have done so. All Rights Reserved. Angry at the prospect of being “turned adrift like old worn-out horses” (the words of soldier Joseph Plumb Martin) with the arrival of peace but without proper salary payments and civilian recognition of the army’s sacrifices, the officers began plotting to threaten Congress into coming up with long promised financial compensation–or else. What followed at Morristown was another example of the same thing. Learn more about Washington's 1781 Yorktown Campaign - the last major battle of the American Revolution. Today the theory is more alive in Europe that America, with its most sophisticated proponent being Russian historian and philosopher of history Leonid Efimovich Grinin. As for Hancock, he lacked real combat experience and had only served as a militia leader back in Boston. The question becomes: Was there a worthy replacement waiting in the wings? Spend the day with us! Fortunately, Washington survived his first battles, even when he led out front, at least briefly, during the Princeton engagement in early January 1777. Any attempt to annihilate the enemy’s force was unrealistic, if not foolhardy. Everyone who holds public authority exercises their power through the kingship of Christ. Washington, not yet viewed in 1776 as “indispensable” leader, understood what Franklin and other republican purists, those who believed the war could be won with a people’s army made up of highly patriotic short-term enlistees, did not. Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association. African Americans in the Revolutionary War. Washington was clearly established as the embodiment of the patriot cause. Washington was a leader who did not have to do or have everything done for his personal benefit. Mount Vernon is owned and maintained in trust for the people of the United States by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union, a private, non-profit organization. On December 23, 1783, he resigned his military commission. Stated another way, do the times shape individual lives, or can individual lives help shape current and future events? Then there was Second Trenton when Cornwallis decided to hold off on a probably-decisive evening attack. In 1777 he was once again outflanked at Brandywine (September) and outmaneuvered at Germantown (October). We have to remember that the colonies had little in the way of any regular army tradition. Discover the Home of George and Martha Washington. His decision to hold Fort Washington on Manhattan Island in late 1776 was disastrous, and Gates, Lee, and Washington’s own adjutant general, Joseph Reed of Pennsylvania, all had grave doubts about his performance. Successful generalship, however, involves much more than tactical know how. You can splash all you wish when you enter, You may stir up the water galore, But stop, and you'll find that in no time, It looks quite the same as before. Learn more about Washington's crossing of the Delaware River and the fateful battles of Trenton and Princeton. It was a perfect example of the unstable revolutionary situation Grinin saw as the essential context for the emergence of a historical figure—or “hero” if you will. Later, in 1777, Washington’s defeats at Brandywine and Germantown, coupled with the loss of the de facto rebel capital of Philadelphia, led directly to the Conway Cabal and a real challenge to his authority as commander-in-chief. Leave a comment! There simply isn’t any better example of Washington grasping the “favorable moment” than when he faced-down the so-called Newburgh Conspiracy. The Revolution was fortunate that he did. GMT … If there is such a thing as a true “historical moment,” this was Washington’s. Washington saw the opportunity and seized it. He described the militiamen before him as “an extremely dirty and nasty people.” Their junior grade officers represented “the most indifferent kind of People I ever saw.” The task was how to turn this surly, ill-disciplined bunch of volunteers into an effective fighting force. Again he seized Grinin’s “historical moment” and altered the course of the campaign, and perhaps the war. He never would have received an offer, if the likes of Samuel and John Adams had any voice in the matter, as they did. This poem has not been translated into any other language yet. Comments about There Is No Indispensable Man by Anonymous British. Applying this theory to the situation of the African-Americans, Douglass remarks: "Give the negro fair play and let him alone. 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