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Biography of George Washington: The 5 Most Interesting Published Works

By    |   Friday, 02 January 2015 08:16 PM

Much of George Washington’s writing came to light through The Papers of George Washington, a project by the University of Virginia to transcribe, index, and publish all of Washington’s correspondence. The effort began in 1966 and in 2004, a “massive digitization project” was launched by UV’s Press and Mount Vernon.

Here are some of Washington’s most interesting published works, from writing in his teens through his presidential farewell address.

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1. “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” was based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. Washington wrote the 110 rules when he was 16. Although not entirely his original work, the Rules are one of his most-often mentioned writings because they are believed to have served as a major influence on his character.

2. "George Washington’s First Inaugural Address" was delivered on April 30, 1789 — more than a month late due to unseasonably cold weather — in New York City. According to the National Archives, one senator in the audience observed that Washington trembled as he faced the Congress. “This great man was agitated and embarrassed,” the senator said.

3. “Thanksgiving Proclamation,” given on Oct. 3, 1789, is only three paragraphs, but as the description on Goodreads states, “he expresses the truth in such a profound way that one cannot avoid being moved by this classic piece of work.”

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4. “This Glorious Struggle: George Washington's Revolutionary War Letters,” edited by Edward G. Lengel, is a selection of correspondence that includes not only letters to Congress and fellow soldiers but also to his family and friends. “Lengel’s selection permits readers to trace the Revolutionary War as Washington experienced it,” a Booklist reviewer said.

5. “George Washington’s Farewell Address,” written with input from Alexander Hamilton, his secretary of state, was published by the American Daily Advertiser, a Philadelphia newspaper, on Sept. 19, 1796. Washington also had help from James Madison (who went on to become the fourth U.S. president). Besides trying to convince his citizens that he was no longer needed as a leader, Washington gave his opinion about the threats to the nation and reiterated his beliefs in concepts such as the separation of powers and government checks and balances.

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Much of George Washington's writing came to light through The Papers of George Washington, a project by the University of Virginia to transcribe, index, and publish all of Washington's correspondence.
biography, george washington, published, works
Friday, 02 January 2015 08:16 PM
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