Separate fact from fiction and learn more about the real George Washington.

First American president, commander of the Continental Army, president of the Constitutional Convention, and gentleman planter... learn more about the many varied roles that George Washington excelled in and tremendous legacy that he left for America and the World.

Key Facts

Mythology

Mythology

Few figures in American history are surrounded by more well-intended mythology than George Washington.

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Slavery

Slavery

Washington owned hundreds of enslaved men, women, and children. He depended on their labor to build and maintain his household and plantation.

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Education

Education

While not formally educated like many of his contemporaries, Washington loved to read. By his death, he had more than 1,200 books in his library at Mount Vernon.

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Brother Washington, the Freemason

Brother Washington, the Freemason

Freemasonry played a role in George Washington's life from the age of 20 when he first became an Entered Apprentice in the Fredericksburg Lodge until the day he died, when a brother in his Alexandria lodge was one of three doctors at his bedside.

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House of Burgesses

House of Burgesses

The first time George Washington ran for public office, he lost. However, he won his second race and served in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1758 until 1776. 

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Ten Common Misconceptions

Ten Common Misconceptions

Some of the most commonly known "facts" about George Washington are simply not true. Go beyond the mythology and find out how much you really don't know about the first president.

true or false?
Athleticism

Athleticism

What he lacked in formal schooling, George Washington made up for in physical strength, skill, and ambition. He took part in almost every sport of his day – archery, foxhunting, swimming, wrestling, dancing - and he was also something of a pool shark.

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Dog Lover

Dog Lover

General Washington loved dogs! Learn more about canines on the Mount Vernon estate, yesterday and today.

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The Master Equestrian

The Master Equestrian

Prowess on horseback offered young George Washington his clearest path to fame. His long rides as a surveyor, through the forest on foxhunts, and his bayonet drills in the heat of the summer sun prepared him well for his eventual martial feats.

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An Attempt to Resurrect Washington

An Attempt to Resurrect Washington

Rather than let George Washington's body be submitted permanently to the grave, Dr. William Thornton, a friend and prominent physician, proposed a plan to "resuscitate" the recently deceased body of George Washington in 1799.

Death Defied
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