Academy of Lifelong Learning

George Washington the Constitutional Convention and the Presidency - Session 1

Jane Nevins

 

GEORGE WASHINGTON, THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION, AND THE PRESIDENCY

Mondays, September 12 – October 17 (six weeks)

4:15 – 5:15 pm

Lecture/Discussion

 

George Washington was central to shaping our country’s presidency. As Commander-in-Chief in the Revolution, he reported to the president of the Continental Congress whose power was weak by design and he saw the military effort suffer for it. After the war, when difficulties between the states showed the need to revise the Articles of Confederation, he pressed for a convention to write a new Constitution. The delegates chose him to preside over that convention. Because the Constitution described the president in very general terms (and still does), Washington’s election to and conduct of the Presidency laid the foundation for future presidents. As important, his exercise of the office filled out in practice the principles that underlie the Constitution itself. In discussion, we will allow ourselves to consider the ways in which the modern presidency reflects either the ideals or the defects in its original design.