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The Most Famous Founder and an Unfamiliar Founder: George Washington and his Neighbor, George Mason

Lesson Purpose

This high-school lesson explores the relationship between George Washington and George Mason. The two were neighbors, living ten miles apart, and had a strong friendship until the Constitutional Convention. This lesson explores the steps to Revolution, the debates around the Constitution, and Federalist/Antifederalist objections.

This lesson was created by 2017-2018 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Teresa Osborne


The lesson provides the opportunity for primary source use and comparison in four sections:

  1. An introductory activity to see connections between George Mason and George Washington over time
  2. An analysis of perspectives leading up to the Revolution through the Fairfax County Resolves
  3. An analysis of debates regarding the ratification of the Constitution, with a particular focus on Executive Branch arguments.
  4. A research project on a president with a chance to answer the question, “Were the Anti-Federalists Right?”

 There is also a separate section for those teaching AP Government that includes an essay prompt, multiple choice questions, and suggestions for Curricular Requirement 14.

One activity may be more useful than another, depending on your class. Start with the Introductory Activity, “Two Georges” as a way to introduce the relationship between George Mason and George Washington. Then, use the other activities as they fit in your curriculum.