Historical Typing: George Washington [ISTJ 1w9]

I drew upon the Washington documentary by the History Channel for the contents of this typing (aired Presidents’ Day weekend, 2020, with Nicholas Rowe in the lead role of Washington).

Functional Order: Si-Te-Fi-Ne

Perceiving Functional Axis:

Introverted Sensing (Si) / Extroverted Intuition (Ne)

Historians said of Washington he “knew how the world worked,” and felt angry when thwarted. As a young man, he joined the British army with the expectation of advancing in rank, power, and influence into a higher role. Thwarted by his non-aristocratic birth, then being demoted when the British decided not to grant Colonialists the same ranks and payment that English-born officers received, and his subsequent difficulties in staying out of debt owing to British merchants cheating him on the tobacco trade, established in Washington a belief that the British empire was inherently flawed and inclined to prey upon the Colonialists – something he believed became true with the increase in taxes, the lack of representation in Parliament, and even his treatment at the hands of General Howe (who refused to acknowledge him as “General”). Washington botched several early attempts to lead in the military, due to his lack of experience in the field; but each subsequent victory, and his “penchant for spotting talent” gave him greater success, enabling him to build on his reputation and establish trust with his men. Washington staying on and “living” among his men, struggling at Valley Forge during the winter, proved to them they could survive, and in that sense, he “led by his own example.” Though blindsided by Benedict Arnold’s betrayal, due to his low Ne and high Si’s tendency to have faith in his friends, Washington also impressed military strategists of that day (and the current one) in his ingenious “risk-taking” ventures, which enabled him to succeed against all odds in the Delaware Crossing.

Judging Functional Axis:

Extroverted Thinking (Te) / Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Both a passionate and principled man, Washington also believed in the rule of order and in obedience on the field. As a farmer, his primary aim at the time was to increase his land ownership (which would give him higher profits off his crops) through his service in the British army. When his tobacco sales fail to provide him enough money to reduce his substantial debts, Washington turned to more productive, seasonal crops that would produce greater quantities per pound (corn, wheat, etc). He understood to keep an army in line, you must punish the men who do wrong and hang deserters, but also that he could pardon those of “greater character” and give them a second chance. As a young man, he struggled to adopt wartime strategies and was beaten several times, owing to his lack of experience and naivety (signing a document in French when he could not read what it said, building a fort on bad ground and getting half his men killed, etc), but he went on to craft and execute a perfect tactical retreat, without alerting the British to their intentions. He used his Te to sniff out other people with substantial things to offer the army (such as Alexander Hamilton and Benedict Arnold) and gave them assignments and listened to their advice. He had a private, emotional side; people said of him that he could be fierce, emotional, and desirous of positive attention. His own strict adherence to ‘duty’ and ‘the right’ when it came to the military made him utterly furious at ‘cowardice’ in his men.

Enneagram: 1w9 self-preservation

Enneagram 1s adopt ‘reactive formation’ as a coping mechanism, which means doing the exact opposite of what their instinct, and their anger, would wish them to do. This was, in a nutshell, Washington. One historian said he had a terrible temper when provoked, and although he did not often show it, you did not want to be on the receiving end of it, once he reached his limit. Washington refused, most of the time, to give in to his absolute rage, and so suppressed it to the point of being puritanical in his emotions. He easily becomes furious, such as when he arrives to take command of the Colonial army and finds a bunch of disassembled, drunken, disorganized men, who ‘lack self-discipline.’ Another historian called him ‘merciless’ in establishing order – he literally whipped some men into shape. But along with that anger came a strong sense of duty, obligation, and a refusal to live ‘above’ those beneath him in the military; if his men starved, he starved with them. If they lived in filth, he lived with them – while appealing to Congress to feed his army. Washington refused to accept dispatches addressed to him by the British unless they used the title of “General.” His 9 wing helped him suppress that temper much of the time, but also made him somewhat distant and unreachable, even ruthless in his angry desire to hunt down the “traitor, Arnold.”