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George Washington At Princeton and Trenton

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2023 3:00 am

George Washington At Princeton and Trenton

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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February 21, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Aristotle says that the highest thing we can see is beauty and that it involves moral acts, and acts of courage. Dr. Larry Arnn of Hillsdale College tells the story of the man that exemplified that the most during the Founding Era-George Washington.

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Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories. And we tell stories about everything here on this show, including your stories.

Send them to They're some of our favorites. And our favorite storytelling here on the crew are stories about American history. And they're so important.

If we don't know who we were, how do we know who we are? And this next story is a history story, as always, brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College, where you can go to learn all the things that are good in life and all the things that are beautiful in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses. Go to That's

In 1777, George Washington pushed back against General Cornwallis in Princeton, New Jersey, gaining a small victory for the Colonials. Here to bring you the story is Dr. Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. And here's our own Monty Montgomery, a Hillsdale grad himself, to help tell the story. George Washington was a beautiful man, according to many in the founding era. Here's Dr. Larry P. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, with more on that, and this all-important man of the Revolution. Abigail Adams, when she met him, she wrote to her husband, I had been told that he was handsome, but I did not know the half. So he was very striking. He was unusually tall for those ages, probably six foot three. And then he was a tremendous horseman.

He's just an awesome man. He could ride his horse into and through a battle without using his hands. And that was awesome because, you know, at the Battle of Princeton in 1776, the Declaration of Independence is ratified. And then, of course, everything goes wrong for months. They did take Boston because Henry Knox went and got the cannon from Fort Ticonderoga, which Ethan Allen had liberated, dragged him across winter roads, got him up on a hill, and they now could shoot down on the British ships, and the British ships had to leave.

But after that, everything was a disaster. They went up to New York, because the British are going up there now. And New York is a complex place, if you think about it.

There's an island, and then there's populous areas above and below it, left and right of it. The sea goes all around, and the British have these big ships. And so at the Battle of New York and the Battle of Brooklyn, the British just simply, completely outmaneuvered Washington.

I mean, it was embarrassing. And he had to run his army down New Jersey, escaping with their lives. Had to get across a bridge over to Philadelphia. And if they hadn't made it across that bridge, and Washington stood by the bridge, by the way, and calmly watched as people entered the bridge, and there was order.

Well, now, you know, it's winter, and he needs to do something, because it'd be, you know, in our first year, we're going to have only defeat. So on Christmas night, he crosses the Delaware and attacks Trenton. And he hoped to wake them up. He had a main man in his army who organized all the boats to get everybody over. And of course, they were three hours late, so now it's 10 o'clock.

And their hope of surprise, they think, is gone. And now Washington says, we're going to go on anyway, because if we don't win here, we're going to be dead by nightfall. Well, they get there, and the Hessian soldiers, and they were from a German state called Hesse, and those soldiers were the main export of their country, because they were really great soldiers.

And the country would rent them out and get money to sustain the country. And so those soldiers were very good soldiers, and they were fighting for their own country, see. It wasn't like they were just mercenaries fighting for themselves. And anyway, they'd had a very nice Christmas night, and they were drunk in bed when the Americans got there. And they took the place, and hardly a casualty on the American side.

And then something bad happened. The report comes that Cornwallis is coming down in relief. And Washington doesn't think that's a good enough victory. He's got to stop Cornwallis at Princeton. And he takes the forces northish from Trenton. And when he gets there, the American troops are in flight.

They're running. And in this case, unlike later at the Battle of Monmouth, Washington didn't say anything. Didn't wave his arms, didn't shout. He just rode his horse directly through the troops toward the enemy. And Washington had an adjutant named Fitzwilliams, and he writes about this. And he says that when Washington got close to the British, he didn't have any way to know if anybody was with him. But they had all turned around and fallen in line alongside Washington. And Washington got close to the British, and he starts giving the orders to fire.

They're about 17 of them, right? And he pulls his sword out. His horse is just walking steadily. And there's a great volley, and Washington is shrouded in smoke. And Fitzwilliams reports that he covered his eyes with his cap because he could not bear to see Washington fall. And then the smoke cleared, and there was a great cheer because he was just still on his horse in the same posture, still going.

And the British, they basically just turned around and ran from him, see? So if you see somebody do something like that, that's a, you know, just the story of it to me is thrilling. Because Aristotle says that the highest thing we can see is beauty. The Christian version of that is beatitude, seeing God. You recognize it by sense perception.

You just see it, and you know what it is. And that includes moral acts, like great acts of courage. And when people see things like that, it's printed in them. It makes them better because they aspire to such things.

And that was the effect of Washington on people. And a special thanks to Monty. Great work as always.

And a special thanks to Dr. Larry Arnn. What's storytelling? Aristotle says the highest thing we can see is beauty. We know it when we see it. And it involves moral acts and acts of courage.

And it moves us to be better versions of ourselves. The stories of Trenton and Princeton, in the end, stories of America's fearless leader, George Washington. Here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country, and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history, from war to innovation, culture, and faith, are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College. A place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life, and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-21 04:29:24 / 2023-02-21 04:34:00 / 5

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