George Washington's Birthday

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday



George Washington's Birthday

February 22

George Washington Websites

First President - George Washington
This official Whitehouse website provides a brief biography of Washington and links to his papers at University of Virginia.

Mount Vernon
Click on one of the pictures on the homepage to see inside Washington's Mt. Vernon, Virginia, home and gardens completed with costumed interpreters.

The Moral Washington: Construction of a Legend (1800-1920s)
Here is a description of how the legend of the cherry tree and other Washington folklore began.

George Washington and Colonial Williamsburg
Here is a biography, including a section on Washington in Williamsburg, and links to Washington's Inaugural addresses from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.


The Farewell Address: Washington's Final Manuscript
Here is an http://www.virginia.edu/gwpapers/badge.jpg introduction, pages in Washington's hand and a transcription of the Farewell Address, in which Washington retired from the presidency rather than become a new American king. He also describes important ideas about American foreign policy.

Draft of the Federal Constitution: Report of Committee of Detail and Report of Committee of Style
Here is a copy of Washington's handwritten annotations to the Constitution, as dictated by the Committees. What a fascinating window into the steps to the creation of the Constitution.

Washington's School Exercises: Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation
Here is Washington's original version and a modern transcription of each page of the this delightful little booklet on how to behave in public, 18th c. style. These maxims originated in the late sixteenth century in France and were popularly circulated during Washington's time. Washington wrote out a copy of the 110 Rules in his school book when he was about sixteen-years old.

Washington and Slavery
Here are primary source documents related to George Washington's ownership of slaves, his views on slavery and his emancipation of them in his will.

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
This Library of Congress timeline of Washington's life and the early history of America is broken into three sections: Colonial, Revolution, and Early Republic. Within each segment of the timeline are hotlinks to Washington's writing and other primary sources.

Classroom Activities

George Washington in the Classroom
Here are almost a dozen activities for the classroom to celebrate Washington's contributions for Presidents' Day.

What Was George Washington's Legacy
to American Constitutionalism and Citizenship?
This lesson looks at the legacy of George Washington, perhaps the most influential leader in the creation of the American nation. Through his achievements as commander-in-chief during the Revolution, in support of the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, and as first president, Washington was instrumental in transforming the ideals of the Revolution into reality. His career as soldier, revolutionary, constitution-maker, and chief executive of a new nation demanded a range of skills and talents with few precedents in history. When you have completed this lesson, you will be able to evaluate, take, and defend a position on the contributions of the "Father of His Country" to the nation's traditions of constitutional government and citizenship.

Honor and Passion for Glory: George Washington in the Ohio Valley
This Library of Congress Learning Page lesson for upper elementary and middle school students examines ways in which George Washington demonstrated his leadership abilities as a young British colonial officer. Textbooks make little reference to his military career during the mid-eighteenth century Anglo-French contest for empire. The lesson includes a reading to acquaint students with Washington's first adventures as a military leader and draws upon his letterbooks to explore his role in the struggle between Britain and France for control of North America between 1753 and 1758.

The Happy Progress of Our Affairs:
George Washington and the U.S. Constitution

This Library of Congress Learning Page lesson addresses George Washington's leadership in forging a new government for the United States after the break from England in 1776. The historical period covered by the documents in the lesson ranges from a few days after the Declaration of Independence in 1776, to late May 1790, when Rhode Island became the last of the thirteen colonies to ratify the new Constitution. The lesson uses Washington's own words to illustrate the events leading to the establishment of our national government, and the crucial roles he played throughout that process.

Integrity and Firmness is All I Can Promise: The Washington Presidency
This Library of Congress Learning Page lesson addresses George Washington's leadership as President of the United States. The documents in the lesson range from a few days before his inauguration through his presidency and include one letter from retirement that summarizes foreign policy issues between the United States and the French Republic. The documents explore several key issues during the administration that Washington highlighted in his Farewell Address of September 19, 1796.

Giving Speeches: George Washington's First and Second Inaugural Addresses
Interpret George Washington’s first and second inaugural addresses. Compare and contrast the information of each speech and write an imaginative historical narrative based on the events of the two inauguration days. Standards 8.2.4 and 8.4.2

Looking at a National Treasure: George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
Explain the definition of a portrait, and then study a web reproduction of Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington. Identify the visual clues that the artist included in the portrait about the nature of Washington and his presidency. Compare this reproduction portrait to other images of Washington (such as found on the dollar bill) and discuss the importance of portraits as visual records and historical documents. Standards 3.4.6, 5.5.4, and 8.3.0

Of Human Bondage: George Washington and the Issue of Slavery
Read and interpret four documents George Washington wrote regarding his slaves and the issue of slavery. Analyze the reasons why Washington was conflicted over the issue of slavery. Discuss the evolution of Washington’s attitude toward slavery and explain the significance of Washington’s eventual freeing of his slaves.

The Proper Gentleman: George Washington and "The Rules of Civility"
Read and interpret a portion of the "Rules of Civility" and then describe the significance of these rules in Washington's time. Discuss how they might be significant in today's world and write rules of etiquette similar to the "Rules of Civility" that might be appropriate for today.

The Right Stuff: What Qualified Washington to Be President?
Create a list of the characteristics, qualifications, and skills that make an effective President of the United States. After reading a selection provided, determine the characteristics, qualifications, and skills that George Washington had that made him the right choice for President of the United States. Compare and contrast the changing needs for the job of President of the United States today and at the time of Washington.

Washington...father of our country                 
You are going to learn about George Washington and also about some national symbols and monuments that we associate with him. You will take some field trips, watch a movie, and create some projects of your own. When you have finished this lesson, you will know who George Washington was and why we celebrate a holiday in his honor. You will be able to tell at least three reasons why he is a famous American.  You will also be able to identify our flag and some of the national monuments associated with George Washington.

For Lands' Sake: George Washington as Land Surveyor
Discuss the importance of land ownership and the purpose of land surveying in the eighteenth century. Read and interpret a transcript of an eighteenth-century land survey. Reflect on the significance of George Washington's early surveying career and how it contributed to his personal development. Survey an area of land and create a written or visual description of it. Construct a piece of historical fiction (for example, a journal entry, newspaper article, or letter) that demonstrates an understanding of Washington's qualifications for and interest in becoming a land surveyor.

George Washington: WebQuest

Here are four short sets of Scavenger Hunt type questions, written at different levels of difficulty. Students find their answers on The Papers of George Washington's website.

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