george washington at christmas

Washington did celebrate Christmas in a variety of ways throughout his life. Christmas was an important religious holiday in Washington's life. The holiday was usually extended to January 6 in his time to celebrate the twelve days of Christmas. There were many balls and parties. His experiences ranged from one extreme to the other.

In 1740, the Washington house burned down on Christmas Eve and the family celebrated Christmas in the detached kitchen. That couldn't have been much fun.

Washington's Kitchen near Fredricksburg

In 1758, on the twelve day of Christmas, January 6, George married Martha Dandridge Custis.

Junius Brutus Stearns depicts The Marriage of George Washington to Martha Custis

Christmas 1775 Martha traveled to Cambridge, Massachsetts and the Battle of Trenton was fought in 1776. In 1777, it was winter quarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. In 1779, it was winter quarters at Morristown, New Jersey. Martha was with George that winter.

Ford Mansion at Morristown - Washington's headquarters

Christmas 1781, Washington was in Philadelphia. In 1783, Washington resigned his commission and went home to Mount Vernon. In 1789, Washington was president of the United States. In 1797 and 1798, George and Martha were at home. These were his last two Christmases.

"George Washington at Christmas" on was the source for this post.


what's the framework of the d of i?

The Declaration of Independence Established Natural Law as the Organizing Principle of the United States.



The new country would be committed  to a legal standard of freedom to be incorporated into the forms of government.


causes and necessities revisited

My previous post touched on The Declaration of the Causes and Necessities for Taking Up Arms. The Declaration was one of several addresses issued by Congress to justify the necessity of armed resistance.The Continental Congress has previously issued the "Olive Branch Petition", which was drafted by John Dickinson. This petition was accepted by the Congress on July 5, 1775. The day after Congress debated "The Declaration of Causes". (1)

Prior to this a committee was appointed to adopt a first draft of the declaration. This committee was comprised of John Rutledge, William Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Thomas Johnson.

The shooting war had started on April 19, 1775 at Lexington - Concord, Massachusetts, but a declaration of war hadn't yet been adopted. The document has this at its heart:

"We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force. The latter is our choice."

The choice was clear. The Colonials had decided to continue war with Great Britain. Could there be any turning back? Most likely no, however I get the feeling if Great Britain would consider addressing the Colonies' grievances, bloodshed would be stopped. Trust though, was a major issue. Both sides did not trust one another. That was clear.

This declaration told the world why the battles were happening. (2) The declaration stated that the shooting war was on, and here's why. So, was this America's first civil war? The Continental Congress was not declaring independence (that would happen a year later). It was declaring that this war was official on July 6, 1775. This declaration of war was drafted for General Washington to read to his troops stationed at Boston. If any of Washington's forces had any doubts, this document ended  those.

The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity begins very similar to The Declaration of Independence. It notes how human life and inalienable rights are from God and no man has the right to take them away.

"...the inhabitants of these colonies might at least require from the parliament of Great-Britain some evidence, that this dreadful authority over them, has been granted to that body. But a reverence for our Creator, principles of humanity, and the dictates of common sense, must convince all those who reflect upon the subject, that government was instituted to promote the welfare of mankind, and ought to be administered for the attainment of that end." 

The document does not demand independence, but lays out why hostilities are being waged. Thomas Jefferson and John Dickinson were named to the committee, to probably finish the draft. Jefferson's first draft was not accepted and Dickinson made the revisions. (3)

Dickinson wrote: "Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable..." (3)

The Congress spelled out that the colonies were their native land. An excellent point, since most were born in the colonies, and were raised with good intentions for a productive and fruitful life. There was a freedom of birthright. That freedom was being prohibited. Points were made that Parliament had imposed laws on the Colonies and that they, members of Parliament, had no right to do so. There was no defense from the Crown. The declaration spelled out that going to arms was the only defense against such tyranny and the protection of their property was paramount. 

Congress wished to bring reconciliation with reasonable terms and to relieve the Empire of the calamities of civil war, but not at the expense of their liberties. Thus it was civil war. 

I can't help but think of how many representatives knew the war would evolve to a war of independence. British authorities were harsh in their treatment and this would get worse. As events transpired, the war took on a much more deeper meaning for the Colonials. It was becoming an all or nothing fight and the Declaration of Independence was the beacon for a totally free nation.


causes and necessity

The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms was a document issued by the Second Continental Congress on July 6, 1775.

The final draft of the Declaration was written by John Dickinson, who incorporated language from an earlier draft by Thomas Jefferson. Objectionable causes were described in the declaration, such as taxation without representation and non-address of the colonists' grievances.


In the 19th century, the authorship of the Declaration was disputed. In a collection of his works first published in 1801, John Dickinson took credit for writing the Declaration. This claim went unchallenged by Thomas Jefferson until many years later, when Jefferson was nearly 80 years old.

An initial draft was reportedly written by John Rutledge, a member of a committee of five appointed to create the Declaration. (1)


The bold statement near the end of the Declaration was written by Dickinson: "Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable."

(1) Source for this post: The Declaration For the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms


the battle of brandywine

More troops fought at Brandywine than any other battle of the American Revolution. It was also the longest single-day battle of the war, with continuous fighting for 11 hours. The location of the battle is Delaware County, Pennsylvania. George Washington was commander of the Continental forces and General Sir William Howe was commander of the British forces. Although Howe won the battle, Washington was able to keep his army intact despite his right flank being left open. Washington stated: "despite the day's misfortune, I am pleased to announce that most of my men are in good spirits and still have the courage to fight the enemy another day". Source: Wikipedia

The British goal was Philadelphia. Washington was able to keep his army from total destruction. Howe would had a clear path to Philadelphia and enter there on September 26, 1777. Source:

The route to Philadelphia crossed Brandywine Creek at Chad's Ford. Washington seemed convinced that the main attack would be a frontal assault, but instead it hit Washington's right flank. The British attack drove the Americans from the hill. The Continental Army withdrew on the road toward Philadelphia.