First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His--and the Nation's--Prosperity

First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His--and the Nation's--Prosperity

Language: English

Pages: 296

ISBN: 0306823470

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The United States was conceived in business, founded on business, and operated as a business—all because of the entrepreneurial mind of the greatest American businessman of any generation: George Washington.

Using Washington's extensive but often overlooked financial papers, Edward G. Lengel chronicles the fascinating and inspiring story of how this self-educated man built the Mount Vernon estate into a vast multilayered enterprise and prudently managed meager resources to win the war of independence. Later, as president, he helped establish the national economy on a solid footing and favorably positioned the nation for the Industrial Revolution. Washington's steadfast commitment to the core economic principles of probity, transparency, careful management, and calculated boldness are timeless lessons that should inspire and instruct investors even today.

First Entrepreneur will transform how ordinary Americans think about George Washington and how his success in commercial enterprise influenced and guided the emerging nation.














cannot be arrested, Soon decide whether order and good Government Shall be preserved, or anarchy and confusion ensue.” Though popular clamor continued to rage for many months, to his everlasting credit Washington stayed the course. None of his presidential acts did more to secure the nation’s future prosperity than his successful efforts to keep the United States—a mere nestling in a world plagued by fearsome raptors—at peace. He expressed astonishment in a letter to his Scottish friend James

salary for leading Continental Army, 89, 95 for presidency, 179, 182 Scottish, 201 Shays’ Rebellion, 174–175 silk, 53 Simpson, Gilbert, 146 Sinclair, John, 198, 237 slavery, 13, 64 abolishment and economic thrift of, 162 at Mount Vernon, 42–43, 65, 138, 162, 246, 248 in Revolutionary War, 162 Washington, G., and, 162, 241, 242, 246, 248 Smith, Adam, 169 Spain, 206–207, 233 St. Clair, Arthur, 207, 225 Stamp Act, 54, 89 colonists opposition to, 57–58, 86 repeal of, 59, 75–76

WASHINGTON. It features a diverse and fascinating cast of characters good, bad, and everywhere in between. Some worked in tandem for positive results. Others flew at each other’s throats. What they shared in common was humanity, with all its flaws and talents. These talents, applied through steady work, built the foundations of American prosperity. Washington understood and believed in that fundamental truth. As an entrepreneur he was among the pioneers, although many of his contemporaries

financial administration were bad enough. Worse was pernicious public speculation, such as forestalling and stock jobbing, which artificially inflated prices and increased market volatility. Such practices did not just weaken the army, the states, and the government but undercut the entire economy. No topic brought Washington closer to apoplexy. To his friend and secretary Joseph Reed he wrote on November 28: Such a dearth of Publick Spirit, & want of Virtue; such stock jobbing, and fertility in

considered at present, & however Britain may affect to despise her trade,” Washington predicted, “there will assuredly come a day when this country will have some weight in the scale of Empires.”52 An opportunity to set this dream on the road to reality occurred in January 1788 with the arrival of Eléanor-François-Elie, comte de Moustier, the French minister to the United States. Moustier contacted Washington and James Madison on the subject of developing trade between the two countries, asking

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