T.H. Breen’s Washington’s Journey
I’m now reading a book on a quite different subject. I was prompted to conjure it into my Kindle by a favorable review of it in a recent issue of the New York Review of Books. But two matters were much more important: the author, T.H. Breen (known as Tim) and I had been colleagues at Northwestern and the book, George Washington’s Journey: The President Forges a New Nation, is on an important subject about which I was completely, shamefully, ignorant.
While I am basically an historical ignoramus, I knew a little about the revolutionary war, the fighting that took place free the states of the new world from the rule by Great Britain, located on the European continent three thousand miles away. I knew that the states on the American continent got together in a federation to throw off the British yoke, but I never gave a thought that states who collaborated to accomplish that single goal would have to “come together” in a quite different and considerably more significant way than by agreeing on a constitution—supremely important, to be sure, but only if it were actually adhered to. Washington’s Journey gives an account of an important chapter in the story of how thirteen states became the United States.
(I might add, parenthetically, the book I am referring to gives an account of an early chapter of this process. In my view, the final chapter about the unification of the—now 50—states has not yet been written.)