Did George Washington really chop down a cherry tree? And what's this I hear about wooden teeth? Challenge the old myths and learn the truth about the man we call "The Father of our Country." [Editor's Note: An updated version of this topic can be found here: George Washington]
"No estate in America is more pleasantly situated than this," declared Washington, speaking of his eight-thousand acre home, Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon has changed very little over the last 200 years, except now you can tour it from the comfort of your home computer. If you begin at Biographical Information, you will be guided through the entire web site: an interactive quiz, a Washington biography, the Mount Vernon tour and an essay on Washington and slavery. You'll even find electronic Washington trading cards to send to your friends. This outstanding resource, written at a fifth-grade level, includes a lesson plan for teachers (follow the link to Biographical Information and look in the outline).
The Papers of George Washington was established in 1969 to compile and publish a complete edition of Washington's correspondence. There are 135,000 Washington-related documents held in photographic form in the project's offices. This web site covers highlights from the project and includes a few excerpts such as his farewell address and Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789. Be sure to read The Rules of Civility, a school exercise done by a teenage Washington. You'll find it by following the link to Selected Documents.
As part of its series on American Presidents, the White House web site presents George and Martha Washington. As this is the only one of this week's sites that features Martha, I was curious to learn more about her. The oldest daughter of John and Frances Dandridge, she was born June 2, 1731 on a plantation near Williamsburg. As was typical for a girl, Martha's education consisted mostly of domestic and social skills. Although she and her husband closely guarded their privacy, in one of her surviving letters she confided to a niece that she did not enjoy her role as First Lady. After her husband's death in 1799, Martha assured a final privacy by burning their letters. In addition to the two biographies, you'll find links to Washington's two inaugural addresses.