Leading Questions

What three questions would we ask a famous historical figure?
ONE historical figure?

I not only simply enjoy history, I married a history major, so historical figures are discussed a great deal in our house. This is a really difficult decision.
We do discussed who we’d like to meet. I’d like to have conversations with many people, but three questions? Hmmm.

There are many great minds with whom I would like to speak, from Copernicus to John Adams, Galileo to Louis Pasteur, Mendel to Bell, Gutenberg to Einstein, but what would I actually ASK them? I’d like to just get them into conversations.

Contemplating this, I looked online to see lists of whom others considered ‘influential’ historical figures, hoping to spur my imagination, and wow, do ideas vary out there.
Of the lists of ‘All-Time Most Influential People’, Jesus ranks first on most of them. Even most non-Christians/ anti-Christians concede to that, although one list put Him behind Mohammad and Albert Einstein. I have to admit that they certainly influenced the world greatly, but golly.

Other lists have many of the people I listed above, but also have Elvis as being instrumental, (pardon the pun), and Anne Frank next to him. I have no doubt that millions have been touched by her diary as it was published, but one can hardly put her down as changing the world and then leave off Harriet Beecher Stowe, whose book truly influenced America,( and therefore, the world), charging up much of the population against slavery.

Going back to my ideas, well, another person who I listed on this blog as wanting to talk to, (by taking him on a road trip), was George Washington Carver. However, President George Washington was the first historical figure who popped to mind when I was considering asking questions.

I would ask George, (hey, we’re friends in my fantasy), what was the one point that made him rebel against British rule, the one thing that was the last straw for him? After all, this was a momentous decision, with no turning back, with death upon capture, not to mention the risk of the fighting itself. (My personal historian is giving me all kinds of suppositions, but I’d like to know George’s “That’s IT!” moment.)

I’d ask where he found the strength, the self-control, the humility to turn down being named “King” of America? Yes, he fought against the tyranny of that type of government, but surely, most men in his position would think that surely, THEY would handle it well. George knew the temptations that kind of power provided and flatly turned it down. You have to admire that.

There are other points I’d like to speak about with him. His reconciliation of his conscience to his personal slaves, for one; his generally considered disastrous involvements in the French and Indian War, and also, his conscience over his victories.

Another discussion would be about his appreciation for Martha, a woman of great wealth and means, but also of great character. She drove a wagon of provisions herself to Valley Forge. She decided to forego dressing up during most of the war, and in fact, she used parts of her dressier dresses to make uniforms for the army. She gathered the women in her circle of friends to Mount Vernon, where they ripped the braid from her gowns and sewed them, by hand, to other parts of her clothing which they had made into uniforms,  by hand.

And I’d speak with him of his great job as a step-father and grandfather.

But I have one final, personal question for him:

“General, may I have this dance?”

By all accounts the man was, (when young), good-looking, charming and a great dancer. I have not had a chance to dance much outside of my very young days at school. (We won’t discuss my teen years. Family problems kept me from dances.) I married a man who has really no interest in dancing and even when pushed at obligatory school dances, ( square dances, 50s dances, etc.) and weddings, the man truly cannot dance, and never has never been really inclined to even gave it much of a try.

I would really love to join in a nice Virginia Reel, in which, I am sure, George would be an excellent partner.

Hey, when I fantasize, I cover all the bases!


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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12 Responses to Leading Questions

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Wonderful personal questions for one of our founding fathers. I’ve read biographies of Martha Washington and she was indeed an exceptional woman. As for the third question, close your eyes, awaken your muse, and enjoy the dance!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really had no idea of all that happened and what the people, especially the women, went through before, during and after the Revolution. Cokie Robert’s “Founding Mothers” was a real eye-opener. George found a treasure trove not only in her money and property, but in her character.


  2. Lois Rotella says:

    I would love to ask John Adams about what led up to his decision to become a member of the Continental Congress. Did he also encourage is wife in her out spoken thoughts? and last what he thought of his son’s presidency.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great questions, Lois! Thanks for coming and and staying to comment . If you can get your hands on The Adams Chronicles, I stink a lot of questions of yours may be answered, (although it would be more fun to talk to the man, that’s for sure!) The Adames were prolific letter writers and had diaries; they were also incredible at keeping everything they wrote. Fascinating people! You are, too!


  3. elainecsc2013 says:

    George Washington is one of my favorite historical figures. Most people have no idea how many precedents he set for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It took me a long time, Elaine, to appreciate all that he did.Honestly, I had not realized how desperate the situation was, nor how instrumental Washington was until relatively recently, (and mind you,I took Virginia history most of my school years! They simply expected us to accept his greatness without teaching us WHY.) Even his worst critics acknowledge that (And he could dance!)


  4. jeff7salter says:

    GW would be an excellent choice for conversation and questions. And, certainly, one of the most influential figures, at least in this hemisphere.
    I’ve read the first of Jeff Shaara’s historical novels on the American Revolution [Rise to Rebellion], but I don’t recall Washington figuring too much in that volume — as compared to Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, etc. Perhaps GW will move to center stage in this next volume.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope so, Jeff.The others had good minds, great minds, but I can’t see John Adams leading the fight and as much as I despise war, I can see where the actions in the Colonies were necessary. From everything I have read, only Washington could have pulled it off.He truly put his money where his mouth was. Perhaps George wasn’t in the ‘rise’ as much, but he certainly made it so.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent questions! Very thought provoking too and they certainly would lead to in-depth conversations. What better way to top all that off than with a dance? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought so, thanks, Angie! I almost scraped this, but I have had a lot of feedback. The more I thought of Washington, the more I thought to ask. Funny that I really didn’t pay him much attention at all when I was near D.C., even though I visited Mount Vernon a number of times.


  6. Joselyn says:

    I wasn’t able to write a post this week, but talking to George crossed my mind as well. I recently watched Turn and wondered if the portrayal was accurate.


    • I watched the first season of Turn. I think they made him a bit arrogant. I dare to guess he had confidence, which is not the same thing at all. He did care for his men; he put himself in the middle of it all. Big difference from today’s ‘leaders’.

      Liked by 1 person

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