Mt. Vernon reflected George Washington’s status in society and his accomplishments in establishing and leading a new nation built on the ideals of “liberty and justice for all.” However, by the late 18th century, Mount Vernon was home to an enslaved community of over 300 men, women, and children. House servants, field hands, and craftsmen built, maintained, and supplied many of the services needed to house, clothe, and feed the equivalent of a small town.
Although born into a class and society in which slavery was rarely questioned, Washington came to believe that the institution of slavery should be abolished by legislative measure. In his will, he freed his slaves. In doing so, he was the only one of nine American presidents who owned slaves to emancipate them.
This program examines the lives of the enslaved community at Mount Vernon as well as George Washington’s changing attitudes toward slavery.
This program provides students with the opportunity to learn more about George Washington as a farmer and a businessman.
Students also learn about how a farm works; how farm resources are managed; how the foods we eat are produced; and how simple machinery works. In addition, the program gives information about the operation of a water-powered gristmill, the jobs that exist at a farm and mill, and the importance of animals to farming.
History Notes: The Music of Washington’s World explores the soundtrack of George Washington’s 18th century world. It was a time of amazing change—a time that saw the creation of a new nation through a revolution based on the foundation of independence in government and ideas. These ideas were highlighted and revealed through song.
Your students will discover the music of Pre-Revolutionary America that reflects the Colonists’ growing revolt against the tyranny of England as well as the traditional songs of African slaves. They will hear music written about George Washington as well as learn the music that George Washington would have heard on the battlefields and in the ballroom.
Join our student hosts as they travel to such 18th century sites as Gadsby’s Tavern for an 18th century ball and a conversation with General Washington; Pohick Church to hear 18th century hymns sung by the West Potomac High School Colonial Singers; and Mount Vernon where the United States Army Old Guard introduces you to music as a form of communication on the battlefields of the American Revolution. Also, the Virginia Chamber Orchestra performs concert music popular in Washington's time. Historians David Hildebrand and Larry Earl introduce students to a new understanding of 18th century America revealed through music.
What did the founding fathers intend the powers of the chief executive to be? How has judicial review added or subtracted from these powers? How has the President’s relationship with Congress evolved?
At Mount Vernon, students and educators joined host Julie Silverbrook, executive director of The Constitutional Sources Project, and historians Joseph Ellis and Carol Berkin for an exploration of executive powers. Professor Ellis has written biographies of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. His book Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation won a Pulitzer Prize in 1997. Professor Berkin is an expert on women in colonial America and the United States Constitution. Her best-known books are A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution and Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence.
This program was recorded at the Fourth Annual Capitol City Constitution Day Education Summit in recognition of the 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution.
As the first president of the United States, George Washington faced a myriad of challenges in solidifying the nation under one federal head as well as overseeing foreign relations with both European nations and the Indian nations of America. From his job as a surveyor to his military responsibilities on the frontier to his role as the first elected leader of a new country, Washington had varied contact with Indian tribes on the continent.
This program, recorded at the Oklahoma History Center, explores whether Washington’s Indian diplomacy and policies set the stage for 19th century American policy. Panelists discuss how his beliefs and practices shaped his policies and how those policies were, or were not, carried out in his legacy. Moderated by Gerard Baker, superintendent of Mount Rushmore National Park, the panel includes Fred Anderson, University of Colorado; Brett Rushforth, College of William and Mary; and Robert Miller, Lewis and Clark Law School.