The First Conspiracy | Brad Meltzer

Summary of: The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington
By: Brad Meltzer


Embark on a thrilling journey with ‘The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington’ by Brad Meltzer, as the book unveils a sinister plan lurking amidst the foundations of the United States of America. Step back in time to 1775, when dissatisfaction festered in the American colonies ruled by Great Britain and the Second Continental Congress debated going to war. Witness the birth of the concept of liberty as American colonies gradually begin to thirst for self-rule. Discover the circumstances that led to George Washington becoming the general of the newly-formed Continental army, and explore the dangerous world of shifting allegiances, setting the stage for an assassination plot on Washington himself.

America’s Quest for Freedom

In 1775, the colonial subjects of Great Britain in what would eventually become the United States of America were unhappy with the oppressive fiscal policies of the Crown. Following the British troops’ skirmish with local militia in Concord and Lexington, the Second Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia to discuss the prospect of going to war with Britain. The Congress consisted of delegates from all 13 colonies, and they were there to deliberate on a newfound concept of liberty and the inherent right of the people to self-rule. This idea put forward by Thomas Paine had started to take root in American hearts and minds. Eventually, it led to the quest for freedom and the birth of a new nation, the United States of America.

George Washington’s Appointment

The delegates at the 1775 Second Continental Congress were undecided on a full-scale war but agreed upon the need for a national American army. George Washington was selected to lead the army due to his extensive combat experience, impressive appearance, and straightforward communication style. He projected dignity and modesty, which made him the perfect choice for this crucial role.

Governor Tryon’s Reign of Terror

Ten days after being appointed general of the new Continental Army, George Washington passed through New York, where he encountered the governor of the state, William Tryon. Tryon was infamous for his cruel treatment of the farmers of North Carolina and for using public funds to build himself a lavish mansion. When the Regulators protested, Tryon violently suppressed them and sentenced their leaders to be hanged, disemboweled, and decapitated. Governor Tryon’s authority was absolute, and he was not afraid to use savage means to suppress dissent. When George Washington led a military procession through New York City, he made a bold declaration of independence that would soon draw Tryon’s attention.

Washington’s Internal Struggle

After being appointed as the general of the continental army, George Washington was faced with the challenge of making people with varying allegiance come together for the fight against the British. The loyalties of the people who were supposed to help him in his cause were constantly changing, and people’s allegiances were solely based on what they declared at any given time. This created an atmosphere of confusion and suspicion that even spread within families, and this internal struggle posed a challenge for Washington to unite everyone.

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