Volume 5: Feb. – Dec. 1787

This is the fifth of six volumes of Washington’s papers in the Confederation period. The extensive correspondence regarding Shays’ Rebellion and widespread alarm over the state of the Union continues in this volume, and there are the usual letters numbering in the hundreds which deal with his more personal concerns: farm and family, slave and tenant, tradesman and artisan. But the main focus of this volume is the Federal Convention in the summer of 1787 and the fight for ratification of the Constitution beginning in the fall of 1787.

About these and other matters of importance Washington wrote to and heard from such Americans as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, George Clinton, Gouverneur and Robert Morris, John Rutledge, William Moultrie, Christopher Gadsden, Noah Webster, Ezra Stiles, Charles Willson Peale, and John Paul Jones; to and from such Europeans as Lafayette, Catherine Sawbridge Macaulay Graham, Chastellux, Gardoqui, and La Luzerne. Of particular importance are Washington’s exchanges regarding agricultural matters with Arthur Young, Thomas Peters, and a number of his fellow Virginia planters.

W.W. Abbot, ed., The Papers of George Washington: Confederation Series volume 5, February – December 1787. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1997.

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