Explore four ways in which Washington’s actions shaped American government.

The democratic principles of freedom, autonomy, and liberty have been America’s calling card since George Washington’s time. But many Americans don’t know the ideas and reasoning behind the principles we hold so dear.

Through his actions and exemplary leadership, George Washington exhibited a profound influence on the shape of American democracy.

Below, explore this aspect of Washington’s legacy—with a little help from four recognizable friends of Mount Vernon.

1. Relinquishing Power

Relinquishing Power


Actor Don Cheadle explores Washington's legacy as an American Cincinnatus, willingly walking away from power and ensuring the success of the American Revolution.

Who Was Cincinnatus?

Washington is often compared to the Roman general Cincinnatus, but who was he?

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2. Encouraging National Unity

Encouraging National Unity


Actor Harrison Ford reflects upon Washington's warnings about political polarization in his Farewell Address.

The Farewell Address

Washington’s Farewell Address, published at the end of his second term, stands today as a timeless warning about the forces that threaten American democracy.

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3. Inspiring Civic Virtue

Inspiring Civic Virtue


Actress Zoe Saldana discusses Washington's legacy as a civic-minded citizen and his sense of duty.

George Washington's Resume

Washington believed that it's every citizen's duty to serve the greater good. So what would the General's resume look like?

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4. Securing Individual Freedoms

Securing Individual Freedoms


Actress Maya Hawke explores Washington's pivotal role in securing the freedom of expression and conscience for Americans.

Religious Freedom in the Ranks

As commander in chief of the Continental Army and president of the United States, George Washington encouraged religious toleration and promoted liberty of conscience as a right.

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Educational Resources

Mount Vernon's educational resources are designed to support further exploration into Washington’s world both in and out of the classroom.

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