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What Would George Washington Do?

March 15 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT

George Washington promotional image

The Thompson Center and UW–Parkside College of Social Science and Professional Studies hosted a virtual webinar on George Washington on March 15 at 5pm CT. What Would George Washington Do? explored our first president’s multi-faceted career and his legacies as a political leader, diplomat, businessman, and cultural figure and the relevance of his accomplishments in 2022.

Featuring the findings of four leading Washington scholars, this panel moved beyond the “marble man” image of Washington to discuss his efforts to launch the Constitution and ensure the successful launching of the new American republic. His efforts weren’t limited to the political arena; it also included achievements on the battlefield, as an entrepreneur, and as a planter. Washington led the nation from independence to an unprecedented Republican government during a time of deep turmoil and uncertainty. Learning of Washington’s challenges and his triumphs can offer guidance as we confront our own political difficulties.


Alexis Taines Coe

Alexis Coe HeadshotAlexis Taines Coe is an historian. She is the author of the narrative history book, Alice+Freda Forever (and is a consultant on the movie adaptation) and her second book, a New York Times bestseller, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington cracked open the scholarship around George Washington and was just named as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Books To Read. Alexis is a consulting producer on the Doris Kearns Goodwin’s three part George Washington series on the History Channel. She is the host of No Man’s Land from Pineapple and co-hosted Presidents Are People Too! from Audible. Alexis curated the ACLU’S 100 exhibition and was the assistant curator of the NYPL’s centennial exhibition in Bryant Park.

David O. Stewart

David Stewart HeadshotFormerly a trial and appellate lawyer, now David Stewart writes history and historical novels. His recent George Washington: The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father, was called “an outstanding biography” by the Wall Street Journal, with “clear, often superlative” writing  and “a narrative drive such a life deserves,” and won the History Prize of the Society of the Cincinnati, New Jersey (as did my Aaron Burr book, below), plus the George Washington Memorial Award.  A fictional trilogy — The Overstreet Saga — launched in November 2021 with The New Land.  The novels are inspired by experiences of my mother’s family from their settlement on the Maine coast in the 1750s.

Mark McNeilly

Mark McNeilly HeadshotMark McNeilly a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where he teaches leadership and marketing in the MBA and undergrad programs at the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Prior to joining academia, Mark led multinational teams at IBM and Lenovo, where he was a marketing executive. He served six years as an officer in the Army reserves (Infantry and Artillery branches). Mark is the author of three books with by Oxford University Press, including George Washington and the Art of Business: The Leadership Principles of America’s First Commander-in-Chief.  He has spoken on leadership and strategy at organizations and conferences in the U.S. Europe and Asia, including Google, 3M, IBM, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and the US Air Force Command and Staff College. Mark has also discussed his ideas on leadership and strategy on the BBC, C-SPAN and CNBC and has appeared as guest analyst on the History Channel special Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Mark grew up in southwestern Wisconsin and graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and received his MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Sandra Moats

Sandy Moats HeadshotSandra Moats is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where she has taught since 2004. Her research focuses on early American politics and culture, with an emphasis on presidential history. She received her doctorate in history from UCLA in 2001. Navigating Neutrality: Early American Governance in the Turbulent Atlantic (University of Virginia Press, 2021) is her second book. Her first was Celebrating the Republic: Presidential Ceremony and Popular Sovereignty, from Washington to Monroe (Northern Illinois University Press, 2010.). She has held fellowships at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently working on a third book entitled, Following the Founders, which explores the political culture that a younger generation of presidential candidates such as Jackson, Clay and Polk developed to propel themselves into the White House.

George Washington was not only the first president, but he was arguably the most important because every decision he made was unprecedented. How the new U.S. Constitution would work in practice was a question he confronted every day. We can learn how to govern by studying the choices he made in his two terms. – Dr. Sandy Moats


March 15
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT




Venue Room
Zoom Webinar