Teaching George Washington Through Film and Television

For the final entry in Classhook’s Presidents Day series, we’ll look at George Washington, the first president of the United States and its most remembered founding father. He served as President from 1789-1797, after having previously led the Continental Army as the Commanding General in the War for Independence and being one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. But for this post, we’ll focus on his achievements as the first president primarily. There are many scenes from Documentaries, TV Series, and Movies that focus on Washington, so we’ve made a list of the best to summarize his presidency. But First, for background on his all life and some of his achievements before the presidency, watch this clip from Biography.com:

Biography: George Washington

But back to the main focus of this blog post, Washington’s place as the first president is significant. He had to set a precedent for how to lead the nation without taking too much power himself. For a background to Washington’s presidency, there’s no better place to look than Crash Course: US History. In this clip, John Green summarizes Washington’s presidency, including the formation of political parties and the beginnings of the Constitutional Government:

Crash Course: US History: Beginning of US Politics

Besides the basics, a lot about Washington is often misunderstood. As this History Channel Clip points out, Washington is often put on a superhuman pedestal. In the clip, Historians discuss his personal struggles and how he worked hard to define the Presidency and protect the new constitutional government:

History Channel’s Washington: Washington the Man, Not the Legend

Finally, it’s nice to show your classroom an acted drama after all of those strictly informative pieces. In this HBO show focusing on John Adams, Washington is often only a secondary character. But in this scene, right before he takes the oath of the presidency, his presence as the “main show” is clear:

John Adams: Washington Takes the Oath

Washington may have been a regular man like any other, but his importance as a founding figure of America’s Presidency should not be forgotten.

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