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An Unalterable Affection: Did George Washington Have a Soft Side?

Lesson Purpose

This DBQ style lesson asks students to use multiple primary and secondary sources to evaluate the statement: George Washington was a stern and unknowable man, always in complete control, with little tolerance for sentimentality or familiarity. This lesson was created by 2016-2017 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Michael Ellis.



  • Students will analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources in order to recognize change over time
  • Students will respond to a writing prompt in a clear, thesis-driven essay that uses evidence from the provided sources

Related Standards:

  • Primary Source Analysis
  • Writing Standards
  • Reading Standards
  • Early American History
  • Civic Values and Social Norms
  • Contextualization
  • Comparison
  • Causation