Naval War College Review


“Honor,” as Douglass Adair explains in Fame and Founding Fathers (1974), “is an ethic of competition, of struggle for eminence and distinction.” “In a partic- ular culture,” he writes, “a sense of honor—a sense of due self-esteem, of proper pride, of dignity appropriate to his station—acts like conscience for a practicing Christian.” Adair argues that “the lust for the psychic reward of fame, honor, and glory, after 1776 becomes a key ingredient in the behavior of Wash- ington and his greatest contemporar- ies.” Gregory D. Massey observes in John Laurens and the American Revolu- tions (2000), “Like his fellow officers, [Continental Army colonel John] Laurens valued his honor or reputation above all else.