HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » ATTN Trump George Washing...

Tue Oct 22, 2019, 09:59 AM

ATTN Trump George Washington gave away his money, land, and food in order to help the needy,

children, and education.

“Let the Hospitality of the House, with respect to the poor, be kept up,” he wrote. “Let no one go hungry away."


George Washington was, according to Henry “Light-horse Harry” Lee, “first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.” Although it is much less well known, Washington was also first among the philanthropists of his generation. Throughout his life, he was generous toward the poor; as he approached his death, he was revealed as the era’s greatest patron of higher education.


The brilliance of his public service sometimes blinds us to Washington’s considerable achievements in private life. He was a self-made man, who rose from relatively humble origins to acquire one of the largest fortunes in American history. Considered as a percentage of GDP, the value of his estate ranks him slightly behind Sears patriarch Julius Rosenwald and a bit ahead of oil baron J. Paul Getty. Still more impressive, Washington refused a salary for his years as commander of the Continental Army. His wealth was acquired in the private sector.


In 1769, for example, Washington offered his friend William Ramsay a sum of £25 annually, in order that Ramsay’s son could attend college in Princeton, New Jersey. “No other return is expected or wished for this offer than that you will accept it with the same freedom and good will with which it is made,” he wrote, “and that you may not even consider it in the light of an obligation, or mention it as such; for be assured from me that it will never be known.” It was the gesture of a patron—generous, certainly, but patronage nonetheless.

When Washington left Mount Vernon to assume command of the Continental Army, he left instructions to the groundskeeper that reflected a Virginian’s sense of liberality. “Let the Hospitality of the House, with respect to the poor, be kept up,” he wrote. “Let no one go hungry away. If any of these kind of People should be in want of Corn, supply their necessities, provided it does not encourage them in idleness; and I have no objection to your giving my Money in Charity, to the Amount of forty or fifty Pounds a Year, when you think it well bestowed. What I mean, by having no objection, is, that it is my desire that it should be done.”


Another favored cause for the childless Washington was the care and education of orphans. He contributed to orphanages in several states, but reserved his largest donations for the Alexandria Academy, established only a few miles from Mount Vernon.

In 1796, three years before he died, Washington offered a gift to Liberty Hall Academy of Lexington, Virginia: 100 shares of the James River and Kanawha Canal Company, worth at the time approximately $20,000. It was then the largest contribution to higher education in American history. Grateful for the gift, the school’s trustees immediately renamed the college Washington Academy; today it is known as Washington and Lee University. The contribution, according to Professor Taylor Sanders of Washington and Lee, was roughly the equivalent of $20 million today. By one estimate, a little more than $11 of every current student’s tuition is underwritten by the generosity of George Washington.

0 replies, 501 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread