The Property of the Nation: George Washington’s Tomb, Mount Vernon, and the Memory of the First President

Tue Nov 5, 6:30pm–7:30pm
Presented by: Anderson House & The American Revolution Institute
Official website

Matthew R. Costello, assistant director of the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History, discusses and signs copies of his book on George Washington’s tomb at Mount Vernon. In the nineteenth century, Washington’s resting place at his beloved Mount Vernon estate was increasingly popular among American citizens and, at times, as contested as his iconic image. While Washington was an affluent slave owner who believed that republicanism and social hierarchy were vital to the young country’s survival, he remains largely free of the “elitist” label affixed to his contemporaries. Washington’s reputation evolved in public memory during the nineteenth century into a man of the common people and the father of democracy. This memory was a deliberately constructed image, shaped and reshaped over time, generally in service of one cause or another. Costello traces this process through the story of Washington’s tomb, whose history and popularity reflect the building of a memory of America’s first president—of, by and for the American people.

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Anderson House & The American Revolution Institute

2118 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
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