EppsNet Archive: George Washington

Huntington Library

26 Nov 2016 /

George Washington Died on this Day in 1799

14 Dec 2015 /

On this date, Dec. 14, in 1799, George Washington, the American revolutionary leader and first president of the United States, died of acute laryngitis at his estate in Mount Vernon, Virginia. He was 67 years old. That is according to History.com.

Acute laryngitis is not something that’s likely to kill you today but in 1799, medical “science” was still so medieval that doctors believed that diseases were caused by an imbalance of fluids in the body. In particular, they believed that fevers were caused by an excess of blood and they treated fevers by bleeding the patient.

Not surprisingly, draining off almost half of Washington’s blood not only didn’t cure him, it probably killed him.

The moral of that story is: When you don’t know what the heck you’re doing, just leave well enough alone.


Happy Flag Day!

14 Jun 2015 /
The Stars and Stripes

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress adopts a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag, a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that also consisted of 13 red and white stripes. According to legend, Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross designed the new canton for the Stars and Stripes, which consisted of a circle of 13 stars and a blue background, at the request of General George Washington. Historians have been unable to conclusively prove or disprove this legend.


Teaching Computer Science: Ski Week

3 Mar 2015 /

Skier

Corona del Mar High School doesn’t just take Presidents Day off . . . they take the whole week off and call it Ski Week.

It’s a total non sequitur in terms of paying tribute to our nation’s greatest leaders. George Washington didn’t ski. Abraham Lincoln didn’t ski.

“How do you know Abraham Lincoln didn’t ski?” a student asks.

“He was too busy writing the Gettysburg Address.”

“He wrote that in 20 minutes.”

“There was the whole Civil War thing going on. He didn’t have time for ski trips with his buddies.”

It’s hard to think of a notable historical figure who also a skier. If you want to accomplish great deeds, you have to give things up. You can’t get bogged down in nonsense.


Unintended Consequences: The Death of George Washington

16 Jul 2014 /
George Washington

In 1799, George Washington fell ill with an infection. Doctors at that time believed that illnesses were caused by an imbalance of fluids in the body. In particular, they believed that fevers were caused by an excess of blood, so they treated Washington’s fever with five separate bloodlettings, which together drained off over half the blood in his body.

Not only did the bloodletting not have a healing effect, it probably hastened his death.

The human body is a very complex mechanism. Society is a very complex mechanism. You might decide, with good intentions, to tinker with a complex mechanism thinking that even if your intervention doesn’t achieve the full benefit you’re hoping for, it will at least be better than nothing.

No — tinkering with a complex mechanism when you have no idea what you’re doing is only going to make things worse.

Related Links

“In Praise of Passivity” by Michael Huemer


Do That Which is Assigned You

3 Jun 2011 /

That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Thomas Jefferson: A Birthday Gift

13 Apr 2009 /
Thomas Jefferson

My fellow Americans —

Did you know that I was born on this date in 1743? Probably you didn’t because nobody makes a big deal about it like Washington’s birthday or Lincoln’s.

That used to really bother me but I’m okay with it now.

Anyway — it’s MY birthday but YOU get the gift. Point your browser at the Guess Her Muff website. GADZOOKS! You will not be disappointed!

Sadly, ladies styling their pubes had not entered into the marketplace of ideas in the 18th century. I can’t help thinking what Sally Hemings would have looked like with a Brazilian.

AH-OOGAH!


Thomas Jefferson: Obama Not Up to the Task?

10 Mar 2009 /
Thomas Jefferson

Obama still has the approval of the people, but the establishment is beginning to mumble that the president may not have what it takes.

Gee — do you really think so? What was your first clue? The loud noise of nest eggs being crushed all over America every time he opens his mouth?

President of the United States is not a job for a dilettante three years out of the Illinois state senate. Before I was elected president, I served as governor of Virginia, minister to France, secretary of state under George Washington and vice president under John Adams.

I also wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and, in my younger years, at age 33, a little something called the Declaration of Independence.

President Obama’s accomplishments? I’ll step aside and let one of his supporters enumerate them:


Concord Hymn

19 Apr 2004 /
Washington taking command of the army

On this date in 1775, the first shots in the Revolutionary War were fired at Lexington and Concord . . .

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, are sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heros dare
To die and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson