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President George Washington Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia
Died: December 14, 1799 in Mount Vernon, Virginia
Biography | show moreshow less
On September 17, 1787, GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732-1799) as President of the Convention, had signed the draft Constitution and also a Letter of Transmittal to the Continental Congress. He then hurried home from Philadelphia to Virginia. Although Washington's support lent enormous credibility to the proposed Constitution, he took no active part in the ratification debates which now began in the 13 states. He turned instead to domestic concerns at his Mount Vernon estate and to the pet project shown in this document. Washington envisioned a canal which would ultimately link the new national capital and the State of Virginia to the Ohio River, and even the Great Lakes, to compete with the great northern project which became New York's Erie Canal. In 1785, Washington had founded and invested in the Powtowmack Company, with this ultimate goal and with the short-term objective of building a series of skirting canals around the Great Falls of the Potomac, near Mount Vernon and the port of Alexandria. (Washington, D.C., of course, did not yet exist.) Washington's vision was eventually realized with completion of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (1831-1924), which stretched 184.5 miles into the hinterland with a system of 74 locks. Unlike the Erie Canal, the C&O Canal was never a great economic success, although it did keep Washington D.C. supplied with coal. No longer a functioning canal system, the C&O is popular today with Washington area hikers, joggers, and picnickers.

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