||In the post-war years, Americans were rightly proud of their wartime
accomplishments, and proud of the new republic they had created. In defeating
Great Britain and gaining their independence, Americans felt that they had also
defeated a corrupt, European set of social, artistic and political
values. They were very conscious of the need to build the new republic on a
new set of values in which virtue would be the guiding principle.
The example of George Washington resigning from the army and returning, like
the Roman leader Cincinnatus, to his farm was perhaps the most notable display
of the values of this virtuous society. Washington's life in general became a
shining example of proper behavior in the new republic with the publication, in
1800, of the Life of Washington, by Parson Weems. It was here that
first appeared the story of young George confessing to chopping down his
father's cherry tree.