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Founding Fathers

About The Founding Fathers
Fascinating Facts
The Papers of George Washington
George Washington's Farewell Address
The Papers of James Madison
The Papers of Thomas Jefferson
Homes of the Founding Fathers


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The Papers of George Washington

First United States President George Washington
George Washington (Lansdowne Portrait) by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas, 1796

Once his political career had ended, George Washington made a deliberate effort to organize and preserve his personal papers. He had the incredible foresight to know that his life and career influenced the appeal of the documents, and that they would become the foundation for much knowledge about the Revolutionary period and first presidency. At one point he even considered building a library to house them. Unfortunately, Washington died in 1799 before the grand library could be constructed.

Washington instead left the papers to his nephew, Bushrod Washington. Upon Washington's death, it became obvious that he had been correct in assuming that people would take interest in his documents. And before the next fifty years had passed, both Chief Justice John Marshall and future Harvard president Jared Sparks borrowed the papers to write their respective works on the first president.

Here is a selection of documents and letters written by Washington over the course of his lifetime and career that will grant some insight into his personal character and the impact he had on U.S Constitutional History.

Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior by George Washington
Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior

Colonial (1744-1775)

Lease of Mt. Vernon (December 17, 1754)

Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation (1744)

Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

George Washington to John Banister (April 21, 1778)

George Washington to Martha Washington (June 18 & 23, 1775)

General Orders on Profanity (August 3, 1776)

Washington's Farewell Address to the Army (November 1783)

George Washington's Resignation Address to the Continental Congress (December 23, 1783)

George Washington's First Inaugural Address 1789
George Washington's First Inaugural Address (1789)

Confederation Congress (1784-1788)

George Washington's Annotated Copy of the Constitution (1787): Pg 1, Pg2, Pg 3, Pg 4

George Washington to Richard Henry Lee (August 22, 1785)

Presidential Period (1788-1797)

Washington's Annual Messages to Congress: Jan 1790, Dec 1790, October 1791, Nov 1792, Dec 1793, Nov 1794, Dec 1795 , Dec 1796

Washington's First Inaugural Address April 30, 1789

The Farewell Address

George Washington to Henry Lee (January 20, 1793)

Post Political Documents (1797-1799)

The Will of George Washington

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