The Economic Thoughts and Actions of President George Washington

Mark Schug, Ph.D.

Many of you have seen Hamilton: An American Musical.  Alexander Hamilton seems larger than life. He takes all of the oxygen out of the room!

But, Hamilton did not appoint himself to be the first Secretary of the Treasury.  That was President George Washington.  Hamilton was a financial genius and a brilliant political theorist.  Washington was neither.  And, he certainly did not consider himself to be an economist.

How do we know the economic thinking of George Washington?  Because of his actions. Washington’s experiences as a business man taught him (and others) the value of creating wealth through accumulation of assets (land), diversification, and innovation. He left tobacco for wheat.  George Washington flour was a household name in Virginia before the Revolution. He developed a fishery, distillery, a spinning house, and more.

As commander-in-chief, he established management systems that saved the nation millions and engaged economic self-interest of civilians. He protected civilian private property.

As president, he knew he could not command prosperity.  Only a free people could do that.  Instead, he insisted on rule of law, fiscal stability, national unity, international credit, and peace. Well known as a micromanager, he agreed with and approved of every move Hamilton made.

Come learn more about the economic thoughts of President George Washington.  I think you will find a few surprises and gain some new respect for a great man who seems to be fading from the American consciousness.


Professor Schug will be giving a one-time lecture titled “The Economic Thoughts of George Washington” on Monday, December 4 at 9:30 a.m. He will also be participating in the “All-Star Panel of  Economists Analyzes Happenings in the News,” on Tuesday, November 13 at 4:30 p.m.

To register for “The Economic Thoughts of George Washington,” click here.

To register for “All-Star Panel of Economists Analyzes Happenings in the News,” click here.

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