Long before George Washington's death, Americans began writing about him in terms resembling the descriptions the New England Puritans had used to describe God. The Puritans never claimed ultimate insight into God's essence - God, no matter how thoroughly studied, no matter how lovingly worshiped, remained unknown and unknowable. He could be approached, in a manner of speaking, by listing his attributes - his power and justice, for example - but the list could never be more than a beginning, certainly not a full understanding. George Washington, a mere man, was called godlike while still alive - meaning he had been chosen by Providence to do great things; he was the being created to take a leading role, indeed the essential part, in leading his country out of the British Empire and into the new world of republics.
- From Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader by Robert Middlekauff