Everybody knows that George Washington did not chop down the cherry tree, but there are thousands of other myths about the Founding Father that remain generally accepted today. Some myths are religious or political, while others spring from the minds of inventive charlatans like P.T. Barnum, who exploited the Washington legend to make his first fortune. The continuing power of these myths reflects our powerful desire to know George Washington not as a marble statue, but as a real man. In this class, we will explore the many ways we have employed our imaginations to make Washington come alive. The classes will be taught by Edward G. Lengel, editor in chief of the Papers of George Washington project and author of the new book Inventing George Washington: America's Founder in Myth and Memory. $50/VHS members; $60/nonmembers (vahistoricalsociety)
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