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Why is George Washington the Role Model of Presidents?

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Saturday, February 18, 2017

Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, 1797

Many people today find their role models in the media culture. According to The Barna Group, two thirds of Americans say pro athletes have more influence on our society than faith leaders. However, American Christians, in addition to their pastors and teachers, have traditionally looked to the elected leadership for role models. Can you find a hero there today?

George Washington, our first president, understood that as an elected leader he had a duty to be the very model that all other presidents would follow. He discerned that his entire life would be carefully examined, not by some prying journalist, but by God, to whom Washington knew he would be fully accountable. So he set his heart and mind to be the President that would set the standard for all others to follow and began to build a foundation for a young nation to shine the light of liberty to the entire world.

Washington was also humbly conscious of the tremendous responsibilities of the new office of president of the United States. He knew that the whole world would measure America by the character of the man who occupied that office. And indeed, most nations identified Washington as “America” long before they were acquainted with the nation.

This prayer, found in his writings, indicates how closely Washington associated the success of the American nation with the spirit and practice of the Christian religion:

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.

George Washington “Circular Letter to the States” 1783

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