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Washington's entry into New York...

[Detail] Washington's entry into New York...

For Lesson Two:
Letter from George Washington to Lafayette, March 25, 1787

NOTE: This is an excerpt. The full text version of Letter from George Washington to Lafayette, March 25, 1787 is in George Washington Papers, 1741-1799.

{excerpt begins}

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.--vol. 29

Mount Vernon, March 25, 1787.

... You will long ere this have heard of the Insurrection in the State of Massachusetts; to trace the causes would be difficult, and to detail their progress would be unnecessary as the steps taken by that government and the proceedings generally are very minutely related in the public gazettes with which I am informed you are regularly supplied. I shall therefore proceed to the more pleasing part of the business and inform you that the tumults are at an end and the principals fled to Canada. ...

These disorders are evident marks of a defective government; indeed the thinking part of the people of this Country are now so well satisfied of this fact that most of the Legislatures have appointed, and the rest it is said will appoint, delegates to meet at Philadelphia on the second Monday in May next in a general Convention of the States to revise and correct the defects of the federal System. Congress have also recognised, and recommended the measure. What may be the result of this meeting is hardly within the scan of human wisdom to predict. It is considered however as the last essay to support the present form

... {excerpt ends}


  • To whom was the document written? What role, if any, did this correspondent play in the American Revolution? What was the person's relationship to Washington?
  • What is Washington's view of the federal convention to be held in Philadelphia beginning in May 1787? What does he insist must happen there?
  • How does Washington characterize the proceedings of the Convention from his vantage point as an eyewitness to the events? What evidence exists of the famous compromises that occurred there?
  • What does Washington's correspondence reveal regarding the struggle in each of the states over the ratification of the Constitution?

Go to the complete interview from which this excerpt was taken.