of the first problems to be solved was the status and title of this new
political role. Line items like how the president should be addressed and how
he was expected to act and appear in public were very important to the general
population of former monarchial subjects. It was Washington himself who
declared that he should be referred to simply as “Mr. President”, instead of
“Your Highness” or “Your Majesty” or some other royal respect. That formal and
informal title of “Mr. President” has remained to this day with the Presidency.
almost avoided his responsibilities of the formation of the Presidential job
description just a couple of weeks after his inauguration when he became
deathly ill with what most of his contemporaries thought was anthrax. If he
would have died it would have probably been a near fatal blow to the United
States government, then in its infancy.
years after his presidency many politicians and historians basically described
Washington as a tall non-intellectual figure head who served in a somewhat sterile
projection of authority during the first formative years of our Nation’s
government. In reality, both Washington and history proved Presidency to be
much more than anyone could have expected. He actually left a legacy of
honesty, integrity and dignity. And in that, Washington set a Presidential standard
that his succeeding office holders have struggled to both obtain and maintain.
by the standards of the North American culture today he would probably have
been observed as somewhat odd in certain of his personal mannerisms. He never
shook hands with anyone after he was elected to the highest office of our
government. He wrote that such a gesture was not becoming to one holding his
office. His peers never criticized him or “forced his hand” for this practice.
However, this presidential tradition he attempted to establish never remained
in the office.
also established the role model of presidential travel. He did this by making
sure he visited each State regularly during both terms of his presidency. On
his many presidential journeys Washington would often ride in a carriage. Just
as he was approaching a city or town that he wanted to make a lasting
impression on he would mount his favorite white horse named “Nelson” and ride
into town in grand style.
on his journeys he also became a patron of the arts, stopping along the way to
buy several original oil paintings throughout the young Nation. Some of those
paintings are still on display at his estate home in Mount Vernon, Virginia, located
just a few miles from the Nation’s capital.
was always very interested in developing and in decorating his estate at Mount
Vernon. From the color of the walls to the style and finish of the furniture,
he always was planning and testing new ideas that would set Mount Vernon apart
from the other plantations and farms of Virginia. He also enjoyed dressing the role
of a military general and an executive leader of his people.
1798 George Washington produced 11,000 gallons of whiskey at Mount Vernon
making him the single largest distiller of alcohol in America.
Whiskey was a very common drink in the colonies and was consumed regularly as a
table beverage and for medicinal purposes alike.
talent that George Washington had, made him out to be quite the dancer at the Presidential
receptions, balls and dinners he was invited to during the post-revolutionary
war days. These events were known to have a long line of ladies waiting to have
a chance to dance with the notorious leader of the new Nation. He specialized
in dancing the minuet, which he had studied and practiced since the days of his
George Washington was president his spirituality was somewhat of a mystery to his
religious contemporaries. While many Christian patriots to this day would qualify
him as a practicing protestant Christian, other certifiable documentation of his
era would appear to indicate otherwise. While we have nationally recognized
paintings of him kneeling to pray during the Revolutionary War, we must note
that these paintings were rendered years after Washington’s death and were
created to relay a biased ideal of him – be that right or wrong.
the same tradition, the stories about the young George Washington cutting down
the cherry tree and throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac River are now
acknowledged as fables written years after Washington died to promote him as a
very moral founding father of our nation.
his Presidency, when congress was in session, George Washington was known to
regularly attend the Episcopal Church in Philadelphia with Martha and her
daughter. However, on the Sacramental Sundays when Holy Communion was
administered to the congregation, Mr. Washington would leave the sanctuary and
return to his residence prior to the actual administration of the sacrament.
After he arrived home he would send the carriage back for his wife. This
practice was affirmed in the personal writings of Nelly Custis, George
Washington’s step-granddaughter and in the correspondence of the Rev. James
Abercrombie, the rector (pastor) of the Episcopal Church in Philadelphia at
practice of Washington’s leaving the Church before Holy Communion was served
became an obvious problem amongst those who attended the Church regularly and
observed it. Almost all Christian denominations, both Protestant and Roman
Catholic consider the receiving of Holy Communion, (The Eucharist; The Lord’s
Supper; the Holy Sacrament) to be a sacred responsibility which all practicing
and confirmed Christians should participate in as an identification of their
personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Rev. Abercrombie addressed the issue directly in a sermon referencing “those
in elevated stations who uniformly
turned their backs upon the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.”
Rev. Abercrombie further stated in that same sermon; “the
remark was intended for the President.”
. Washington was in attendance for this sermon and appeared to receive the
rebuke without any anger or dissent. Washington’s solution to the apparent
offense was found later in Rev. Abercrombie’s remarks; “Accordingly,
he (George Washington) never
afterwards came on the morning of Sacramental Sunday, though at
other times he was a constant attendant.”
Washington’s day Bishop William White was considered to be the Father of the
Episcopal Church in the colonies. He was located in Philadelphia and worked
closely over and with the earlier mentioned Rev. James Abercrombie. Bishop
White wrote a poignant letter to one Rev. Parker in Massachusetts stating these
words; “I do not believe that any degree
of recollection will bring to my mind any fact which would prove George
Washington to have been a believer in the Christian revelation further than as
may be hoped from his constant attendance upon Christian worship, in connection
with the general reserve of his character.”
of Washington’s spirituality was also mysteriously shrouded in his relationship
with the Masonic Lodges in colonial America. By the time Washington was active
in the British militia during the French and Indian War the culture of Masonic
Lodges had spread through the colonies. Virginia was no exception. For
Washington, joining the Masons was a rite of passage, a formal entry into
respectable and genteel if not elite society.
was initiated into the Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 on Saturday, November 4,
1752. On Saturday August 4,1753 he was made a Master Mason by the
the young Washington became an adult and framed his relationships, the Masonic
Orders would turn out to be a dynamic influence in his life both
philosophically and spiritually. The spirituality of the Masonic order which
promoted a rite to worship any supreme being in one’s own preference and manner
was often perceived as a strong influence on the constitutional aspects we know
today as religious freedom.
When reading Washington’s
correspondences, there is very little doubt that he was in tune with the
enlightenment thinkers of his day such as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin
and Thomas Paine, all of whom were his personal friends and members of the
Masonic Lodge. French Military officer Lafayette was also a close friend of
Washington’s and encouraged each other in the observance and personal practice
of Masonic and French enlightenment philosophies.
 Haffner, Craig The Presidents Volume 1 (History
Channel.com, 2005) DVD
 Remsburg John
Historic Americans (New York, Truth seeker Company, 1906) p.105
Historic Americans (New York, Truth seeker Company, 1906) p.105
 Remsburg John
Historic Americans (New York, Truth Seeker Company, 1906) p.106
 White, William The Literary Digest Vol..XXIV No. 22
(New York, 1902) p. 746
 Grizzard, Frank
E. George Washington a Biographical Companion (Santa Barbara, California,
ABCCLIO, 2002 ) p.123
 Lomas, Roberts The Secret Power of Masonic Symbols (New
York, Fairwinds Press, 2011) P.98