George Washington (1732-1799), the first President of the United States, is widely regarded as the father of the country. Not only did he ensure the survival of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, but he also set important precedents during his two terms as President. But how did he spend his days?
A look at his daily routine at his Mount Vernon plantation reveals a disciplined and hardworking man who utilized his time to the fullest.
With hours spent horseback riding on his estate, Washington's daily routine is incomparable with those of recent Presidents such as Trump and Biden.
Inside a day in the life of George Washington
- George Washington lived according to the "early to bed, early to rise" maxim.
- He spent his mornings riding around his estate on horseback and entertaining guests at breakfast.
- Washington retired to bed early and spent his evenings reading and writing.
- He and his wife Martha would go to church on Sundays twice a month.
George Washington was an early riser, frequently waking up at the break of dawn.
He would start his day with a small meal of cornmeal cakes and tea without cream. He would also bathe, shave, and have his hair brushed by his enslaved valet.
Washington had an 8,000-acre estate. In the morning he would saddle up for a horseback ride, returning home around 7 a.m. for a more substantial breakfast with his family and any guests who had stopped by.
Around this time he would catch up on reading newspapers and magazines.
Washington spent his afternoons focusing on agriculture and current events. He would have his main meal of the day, dinner, at 2 p.m. He would prepare for dinner by changing and powdering his hair.
After dinner, he would set off for another horseback ride around his estate and have an afternoon snack of a punch, a draught of beer, and two cups of tea. He would also spend at least part of his day writing, authoring 20,000 letters over his life.
At 7 p.m., Washington would have tea with guests. However, he preferred not to idle away the evening with his guests and would retire to bed early, reading and writing until the candle burned low.
During the Revolutionary War, if he had a free moment in the evening, he would relax with his aides, drinking Madeira wine and snacking on nuts, cheese, and bread.
Washington's adherence to the "early to bed, early to rise" advice helped him to become one of the wealthiest men in the country at the time.