Within eight years of the death of George Washington in 1799, the first major biography of “the father of his country” was written by John Marshall and published in five volumes. Marshall, who later became Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, was induced to the task by the first President’s nephew, Bushrod Washington. Marshall’s own principal biographer, Albert J. Beveridge, has described The Life of George Washington as “to this day the fullest and most trustworthy treatment of that period from the conservative point of view.” In fact, so significant is the biography that Marshall later executed a one-volume abridgment, first published in 1838 and used widely for generations in American schools and colleges. The twentieth and final version of the abridgement, published in 1849, is the text reproduced in the new Liberty Fund edition of what Charles A. Beard has praised as a “great” and “masterly” biography. The editors’ foreword and notes, together with maps of major battle campaigns not included in the original edition, make this edition especially attractive for classroom use. The Appendices include Washington’s Speech to the Officers of the Army (15 March 1783), Address to Congress on Resigning Commission (23 December 1783), Letter to Congress Transmitting Proposed Constitution (17 September 1787), First Inaugural Address (30 April 1789), and Farewell Address (19 September 1796).
Robert Faulkner is a Professor of Political Science at Boston College.
Paul Carrese is a Professor of Political Science at the United States Air Force Academy.