George Washington: More bling than Mitt Romney

Monday, 20 February 2012 21:01
washingtonG022012_optBY BOB HOLT

It turns out that George Washington, whose birthday is being celebrated today, was actually a richer man than Republican contender Mitt Romney.

According to the Washington Post, studies have estimated Washington’s net worth at more than $500 million, mainly due to his Virginia plantation at Mount Vernon.

A lot of things about our first President may not be widely known. According to the Christian Science Monitor, George Washington did wear false teeth, but they were not wooden. At times during his life, Washington wore dentures made of human teeth, ivory, lead, a cow’s tooth, one of his own teeth, hippopotamus ivory, metal and springs.

Also, Washington never attended college. He received an elementary education from tutoring, and his second inaugural address clocked in as the shortest ever given by an incoming president at 135 words.

The other president born in February, Abraham Lincoln, has never seen his birthday become a national holiday. The name of the February holiday called Presidents Day is actually “Washington’s Birthday,” which is officially marked on the legislation.

People have tried to make Lincoln’s birthday a national holiday in past years. The most recent attempt came in 2001, when Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, of Maryland introduced the “Washington-Lincoln Recognition Act. ” This bill called for the president to issue a proclamation each year recognizing the anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln and calling for its observation across the U.S. The bill was never passed.

For decades after the Civil War the South and North were divided on how to remember its heroes. Memorial Day was called Decoration Day, and celebrated on different days in both regions. World War I saw them combined into Memorial Day.

The Christian Science Monitor suggests that making Lincoln’s birthday a national holiday would have been controversial to many in the South and possibly been the reason Congress resisted creating the holiday.