Democracy, Leadership,and Commitment

On May 22, 1782, just six years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Army Colonel Lewis Nicola, frustrated by the inability of the fledgling American Congress to raise funds to pay the army, wrote to President George Washington urging him to become king of the United States. Washington’s refusal was adamant. He wrote back to Nicola on the same day: “If you have any regard for your country, concern for yourself or posterity, or respect for me . . . banish these thoughts from your mind, and never communicate, as from yourself, or any one else, a sentiment of the like nature.” ...

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