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What Do You Know About a George Washington Education?

Mar 20, 2008
George Washington was born on his father's plantation in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on February 22, 1732. His father, Augustine Washington was not only the leading planter in the area, but he also served as a justice of the county court.

George was born from Augustine's second marriage, after his first wife died leaving two sons and daughter to be raised. George was the oldest of the six children Augustine had with his second wife, Mary Ball.

Very little is known about the kind of childhood George Washington had, and we know very little about the George Washington education.

In the state of Virginia, most children were either taught in local private schools or at home by private tutors. When boys turned seven, they would usually begin formal education. They began by learning arithmetic, reading, and writing.

Later, they were taught Latin and Greek, as well as geometry, bookkeeping, and surveying. Some wealthy planters would send their sons to England to finish their schooling.

George's older half brothers went to England. Unfortunately, their father died before George could be sent to England.

The George Washington education most likely started in a school located close to home for a few years. He may have gone to another school later. But what we know for sure was that was very good at mathematics and learned surveying.

He didn't learn Latin and Greek like many of the other gentlemen's sons in the area. He never learned a foreign language or went to college. It is estimated that the George Washington education ended around the age of 15.

The gentry class held social skills to be very important as part of a young man's or woman's education. After George's father died, he started spending more and more time with his half brother Lawrence at his home, Mount Vernon.

Lawrence helped in many ways, such as: mentoring and tutoring him in his studies, teaching him social graces, and introducing him into society.

The George Washington education was seen as defective his whole life. He made every effort to make up for all the things he didn't learn in school by reading books and learning from people he respected.

Through the years of his personal studying, he built up an enormous library. He also subscribed to many newspapers. He also wrote a lot.

George may have placed such a high value on education because of his incomplete formal schooling. When he died, his will donated money for building a school in Alexandria, Virginia and for a national university.
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