Washington: A Visionary Leader

What is a visionary leader?

A visionary leader is one who leads with a plan for the future; someone with foresight that is and trusted and respected, and who can inspire people to join them in their vision.

George Washington was a visionary leader because...

1. He kept the nation out of war. In the early years of Washington's presidency, America was not yet stable with their military or the debt left over from the Revolutionary War. Even though France was battling the British in 1793 and America was bound to help them by the Franco-American Alliance of 1778, George Washington recognized that the problems troubling America were more important than an alliance with France. Washington put out the Neutrality Proclamation, which told everyone that America would not take military action when the nation was still too young and weak. This action was probably very difficult for Washington to take, because France had helped America in the Revolutionary War, and they also had an alliance. However, Washington had the foresight to recognize that if his own country had large issues, then they had to be dealt with before all other issues or else the young nation could not grow properly.

2. He knew how to make the people respect him and the government. A government cannot function properly if the citizens do not respect it, and Washington made sure that America understood how much power he and the government had. In 1794, there was a rebellion, known as the Whiskey Rebellion, that started because of the excise tax put on whiskey. The rebels started out fairly peaceful, but the situation grew to the point where they were tarring and feathering tax collectors, among other violent acts. Washington would not have it. He sent the militia of several states, a force of about 13,000 troops, against the rebels. They were met with no resistance, and only 3 rebels were killed. As a visionary leader, Washington recognized the need for respect for the new government so that it could govern the people in the best way possible. Washington could have ignored the issue or sent a smaller military force to deal with the Whiskey Rebellion, but he chose to fully assert his power so that everyone understood what it was.