George Washington: Debt and money facts about America’s first president

President’s day (February 16, 2015) is celebrated as the birthday of George Washington. Today, we are going to continue our presidential history geek-out session by investigating credit and money facts related to George Washington:

george washington

• Washington was land-rich but often cash-poor, and had to borrow money in order to get to his first inauguration in New York. His tobacco plantation on Mount Vernon often lost money, leaving Washington in debt to British businessmen.
• George Washington is quoted as saying “Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.”
• George Washington often felt obligated to grant loans to his employees and acquaintances, even when he was in debt himself. He did not like to charge interest on these loans and the loans were often left without being repaid. Washington lent a weaver money to bring his family to America and a friend money to send his son to college but was not repaid for either loan.
• George Washington’s portrait has been on the quarter since 1932 and on the dollar bill since 1869. The first president’s image also briefly appeared on the 20 dollar bill.
• George Washington only had the equivalent of an elementary school education (Okay, this one is not related to credit…but isn’t it interesting?)
• George Washington oversaw the development of a funded national debt, the launch of the Bank of the United States and the development of new taxes in cooperation with Alexander Hamilton.
As you can see, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington had very different opinions about debt and financial management. While Lincoln was careful with his money, Washington often had trouble with debts.