George Washington Documentary feedback please?

Apr 2018
Essex, England
Hello everyone, I've just finished my new documentary on the life of George Washington and would like some feedback if possible.

Please let me know what you think if you have the time, many thanks in advance.

Kind Regards


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
All around, pretty good. A couple of points -
Gets off to a slow start, fully 30 seconds of dead air before the narration begins. I can read "People Profiles" and "The Life of George Washington..." in less than five seconds each. No need to show both for as long as 15 seconds each. I know I've got a short attention span, but I don't think I'm alone.

Circa 1740 "The Washington family owned thousands of acres." That number seems surprisingly large. Was that just Augustine Washington or does that also include Augustine's close relatives? Or maybe all of the descendants of John Washington?

"The Washington family was too poor to send George to England for school." True, but only because Augustine had died, setting back the family fortunes for a few years. By 1750, the family's fortunes would recover, thanks to the efforts of Lawrence. Lawrence had been educated in England, and George would have, too, if Augustine had lived. George's early life was a curious mixture of privilege and poverty. He was better off than most, but during his teenage years his perception of poverty may have hyper-stimulated his ambition which never faded thereafter.

"George obtained the qualifications to be a surveyor from a university in Williamsburg, VA." This needs to be checked. I can't find any references to George ever attending university. Everything I'm finding says he learned surveying through a combination of secondary school lessons in practical geometry, self-teaching, and by working with more experienced surveyors. Among the frontier land-owning class he was born into, surveying was a common skill.

There was bickering over the Constitution and how it should be interpreted and applied, but political parties had not yet emerged during the election of 1788. I don't think anyone seriously questioned that Washington would be the first president because as the video says, "He was the great hero of the war." The first political parties were formally organized only in the 1790s.
Aug 2018
Southern Indiana
History always glosses over the fact that George Washington and other "founding fathers" including Ben Franklin were making fortunes surveying and selling indian land in the Ohio Valley. The Proclamation of 1763 put an end to all of that and that was a huge factor in starting the Revolution. Washington has just started the Mississippi Land Company earlier that year and the king's proclamation ruined his most ambitious project. Everyone likes to think it was all about freedom, but the revolution was instigated by America's elite who's business dealings were at odds with the crown.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
Washington had a certificate in surveying from William and Mary in Williamsburg. I don't think he attended classes there. I don't think he every went to school, but was educated by tutors. It wasn't that there wasn't the money to send him to school in England. It was that his father died and his mother and oldest brother had control of the money and wouldn't spend it on that.

Many of the founding fathers, including the Virginia planters, had interests in western lands. John Hancock was wealthy through smuggling. Many of the Boston founding fathers were involved in smuggling and had interests in ending the Navigation Acts. There was also "patriot" support from ordinary people though. Most of the New York Dutch estate holders, the wealthy of NYC and Philadelphia, and the deep south planters were loyalists / Tories.

Washington left an estate of about a million dollars 18th century money. Most of it was land west of the Proclamation Line. He may have obtained some of it through political power and connections.

The Bank of New York advertises that their founder in on the $10 bill. I read a muckraking book from around 1900 that discussed Washington's land dealings, Hamilton's banking interests and so on in the first chapter before getting into more recent corruption.

I haven't watched the video, but since this guy is English he probably touches on that sort of thing.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
I watched the video and a few corrections and elaborations.

Washington's brothers went to school in England. Due to his father's death, there was not money available to send Washington. I am not sure if it is because his mother and/or eldest brother wouldn't spend it or because the money hadn't been disbursed from the estate.

A little more detail, the battle of Monongahela near Pittsburgh was a disaster with the French and Indians firing from cover in the forest. Washington was an aide de camp and made his reputation by organizing the retreat while the commander, General Braddock, was mortally wounded.

As for Washington supplying the voters with liquor, this was standard practice. Candidates would hold barbeques for the voters with meat and liquor, and give them liquor to take home. Voters would announce their votes in front of the candidates. It was pretty close to vote buying. Who was going to be elected was often decided by a few people before the campaigns, as occured in medieval England and 20th century Virginia.

The commander of the French forces sent to aid the "patriots" was Rochambeau not Lafayette. Lafayette was one of many foreign officers who volunteered and was a Major General in the Continental Army. He was not in the French force. There were only 3 or 4 former British regular officers in the Continental Army. Washington had major experience as commander of the whole Virginia militia late in the French and Indian War. Some of Washington's best generals, such as Arnold, Greene, and Morgan, were milita officers with little or no combat experience at the beginning of the war.

There were not two political parties at the time Washington was elected President the first time. The parties onlydeveloped during his Administration, partly caused by the disagreements between Hamilton and Jefferson in Washington's cabinet. Washington did not pick men from both parties. There were no parties when they were picked.

Washington got all electoral votes, which is stronger than carrying every state. There was no popular election for President. In some states the electors were elected by the voters. In others, they were chosen by the legislature. All of the electors voted for Washington in both elections.

Washington was chosen as the great hero of the Revolutionary War, not primarily because he was viewed as a moderate. At the Constitutional Convention when the position was created, it was assumed he would be the first President.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
Also, the woman named Fairfax that Washington's brother married was a relative of Lord Fairfax, who held more than 3,000,000 acres in Virginia. Lord Fairfax moved to Virginia from Scotland after he read that his land agent in Virginia, "king" Carter, left an estate of £ 10,000. It was Fairfax's influence that made Washington a high ranking militia officer.