American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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George Washington's
Rules of Civility

Holograph manuscript
George Washington (1732-1799)
Holograph manuscript,
ca. 1753
Page 2 - Page 3
Manuscript Division
State Department transfer, 1904

A youthful George Washington copied out these 110 simple "Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation" as a school training exercise. This code of conduct is a simplified version of Francis Hawkins' Youths Behavior, or Decency in Conversation Amongst Men, which was based on a sixteenth-century set of rules compiled for young gentlemen by Jesuit instructors. Washington's handwriting, grammar, and spelling reflect his youth, and the "Rules" reflect his strong desire to be a gentleman planter.

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