The Power of Hubris and the Death of George Washington
”Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.” - Otto von Bismarck
The greatest American to ever live should not have made it past his 22nd birthday. George Washington’s first battle was the disastrous 1754 Battle of Fort Necessity, where an unsuspecting and unprepared column of British soldiers, led by the starry-eyed then-Colonel Washington, attacked, was surrounded, and nearly obliterated just south of modern-day Pittsburgh by a numerically superior force of French, Abenaki, Lenape, and Shawnee. Washington was so consumed by his desire to prove his worth to his British superiors that he sparked a global conflict between Britain, France, and their respective allies that killed 1.1 million people; more than the Civil War, War on Terror, and Revolution combined. But that same hubris and vanity which nearly got Washington killed might have actually killed the father of our nation — and his upstart rebellion with it — if he hadn’t come so close to annihilation 20 years prior. Hubris did not make George Washington the man - but it made George Washington a legend.