Josiah Bunting III is president of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the author of Ulysses S. Grant (2004). In a series of three lectures, Josiah Bunting III examines the lives of George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and George C. Marshall and the ambivalent relationship between America’s citizens and its military establishment. In addition to their leadership qualities, all three men were students of military history and wrote prolifically on the topic. In the first lecture, he considers George Washington’s character as revealed in his generalship of the Continental Army and military strategy against the British.
Most Americans know George Washington's December 1776 crossing of the Delaware from the famous painting by Emmanuel Gottlieb Leutze. David Hackett Fischer, Warren Professor of History at Brandeis University and author of Washington's Crossing (2004), looks beyond the famous painting to the events of that tumultuous month. He follows the retreating American army from the Battle of Long Island down through New Jersey, as an American victory seemed more and more unlikely. Fischer emphasizes how Washington's great strengths allowed him to take advantage of conditions in December to win the Battle of Trenton and turn the tide of the war, rekindling the ailing Revolutionary cause.
Carol Berkin, Presidential Professor of History at Baruch College and the CUNY Graduate Center, contrasts the popular memory of the Revolutionary War with its more complicated realities. She argues that although many of us were taught in school that American support for the Revolution was passionate and unified, it would be better for students to learn that America has always been diverse and that colonists had their own strong political divisions.