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George Washington

Read excerpts from these wonderful books and then vote for your favorite!  Here are samples from the seven Finalists for the 2017 George Washington Book Prize.

In celebration of George Washington’s 285th birthday, seven books published in 2016 by the country’s most prominent historians have been named finalists for the George Washington Prize. Read more >>

Our first President spoke about abolishing slavery, but couldn’t manage without the unpaid labor of hundreds on Mount Vernon.

Editor's Note: David O. Read more >>

Fierce debate among early political factions led to many allegations of misdeeds and abuse of power in Washington's administration, but there was no serious misconduct.

Historians have reached no consensus in their interpretations of the administrations of George Washington and John Adams, but two statements can be made with little fear of contradiction. Read more >>

Roast pig, boiled rockfish, and apple pie were among the dishes George and Martha enjoyed during the holiday in 1797. Here are some actual recipes.

At the end of the War for Independence, Philadelphia nationalists, together with disgruntled officers in the Continental Army at Newburgh, began a plot to challenge congress' authority. But can we really call it a conspiracy? 

Excerpted from the George Washington Book Prize finalist A Crisis of Peace: George Washington, the Newburgh Conspiracy, and the Fate of the American Revolution, by David Head (Pegasus Books). Read more >>

Following Washington's death in 1799, cultural and intellectual agents in early America began to transform the first president into a national symbol through books, poems, and artwork. 

Excerpted from the George Washington Book Prize finalist The Property of the Read more >>

The young nation was lucky to have the only candidate on earth who could do the job.

There were no primaries back then to select presidential candidates, no organized political parties, no orchestrated campaigns, not even any established election procedures. Read more >>

The struggles and triumphs of our Presidents have been central to shaping our nation, even though they operated under a Constitution that didn’t grant them unilateral power.

Editor's Note: Portions of this essay were written by the distinguished Presidential historian Michael Beschloss for our book, Read more >>

Ambitious, temperamental, and passionate, George Washington learned the skills in the French & Indian War that laid the groundwork for the great leader that he would one day become.

Excerpted from the George Washington Book Prize finalist Young Washington: H Read more >>

The American War for Independence was part of an international trend -- a new focus on the individual led people to new insights, new proclamations and new assertions of rights.

Excerpted from the George Washington Book Prize finalist Revolution Song: A Read more >>

Native American peoples and the lands they possessed loomed large for Washington, from his first trips westward as a surveyor to his years as President.

In looking at the restoration of the Front Parlor, we can learn a lot about the Washington family, life in Colonial America, and the art of historic preservation.

It's easy to see why curator Adam Erby gets excited entering the Front Parlor at Mount Vernon, which was recently reopened to the public after being closed more than a year for renovation. Read more >>

“It is recommended,” proclaimed Lincoln, that the People “celebrate the anniversary of the Birthday of the Father of his Country."

On February 19, 1862, with armies drilling for the spring Civil War campaigning season, Presi Read more >>
Fifty years ago, AMERICAN HERITAGE began a six-part series on George Washington written by the famous historian James Thomas Flexner. Read more >>

Just before Christmas of 1783, General George Washington returned to Mount Vernon and looked forward to spending his remaining years at his favorite occupation, that of a Virginia country gentleman.

After the fighting—after Trenton, Valley Forge, Monmouth, and Yorktown—after all the sleeplessness and the care, George Washington longed to return to the reassuring routine of his beloved Mount Vernon. Read more >>

Built in 1778 by a member of the British Parliament who admired George Washington, the vandalized monument stands on an old estate now in ruins.

We can better understand how Washington thought by piecing together clues that have remained hidden in the books he once owned.

Thomas Paine's Common Sense helped Americans "decide upon the propriety of separation,” as George Washington said.

In May 1775 the Reverend Jonathan Boucher, rowing across the Potomac, met George Washington rowing in the other direction on his way to the Continental Congress. The two conversed briefly on the fate of the colonies, and Boucher asked Washington if he supported independence. Read more >>

Members of the Maryland Forces guard memories of a dramatic history at Fort Frederick, the best preserved fort from the former English colonies in America. 

As I drove through the Maryland woods to old Fort Freder Read more >>

A special issue of American Heritage offers excerpts from seven books nominated for the prestigious George Washington Prize.

We can feel significant satisfaction in the quality of historical scholarship being published today, considering the seven books nominated for this year's George Washington Book Prize. Read more >>

The battle of Monmouth was pivotal in the struggle for independence, enabling George Washington to change the narrative of the war and eventually solidify his own role in our nation's history.

Unlike Saratoga or Yorktown, the battle of Monmouth was not a clear-cut American victory. Read more >>

It is important to tell the story of the Constitution’s origins in a way that demythifies it. Impressive as they were, the men who wrote the Constitution were not demigods; they had interests, prejudices, and moral blind spots.

After becoming President, George Washington undertook an extraordinary journey through all thirteen colonies to unite – and learn from – a diverse population of citizens. His quest to unite our nation and discover the "temper and disposition" of its people are an inspiration to us today.

The claim that “Washington Slept Here” is so ubiquitous in the historical community that it has become something of a running joke. Read more >>

In the teeth of near defeat, Gen. George Washington pulled out miraculous mid-winter victories

In December 18, 1776, the American Revolution was near collapse. The commander in chief of its forces, George Washington, warned his brothers in Virginia that "I think the game is pretty near up," unless a new army were instantly recruited, which was not happening. Read more >>

In his second term, George Washington faced a crisis that threatened to tear apart the young Republic. His wife Martha later thought the bitterness of the debate may have hastened the President’s death, but Washington gave America the gift of peace, and an important precedent in leadership.

The business of forging George Washington’s signature and correspondence to sell to unwitting buyers goes back 150 years

As the editor of the papers of George Washington at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, I have the privilege of intersecting with many people who come bearing documents supposedly signed by the first president. Read more >>

America’s first civil war took place during the Revolution, an ultra violent, family-splitting, and often vindictive conflict between patriots and loyalists

On April 22, 1775, three days after a British column marched out of Boston and clashed with militiamen at Lexington and Concord, the news—and the cry of Revolution!—reached Danbury, Connecticut, where 18-year-old Stephen Maples Jarvis was working on the family farm. Read more >>

An impetuous and sometimes corrupt Congress has often hamstrung the efforts of the president since the earliest days of the Republic

On a little-remarked, steamy day in late June 1973, a revolution took place in Washington, D.C., one that would transfer far more power and wealth than did the revolt against King George III in 1776. Read more >>

Stalwart as he was, the general was often ill. A doctor studies his record and notes shortcomings in Eighteenth-Century medical care.

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

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