George Washington and His Marriages Term Paper

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George Washington's Marriage

George Washington was above common and ordinary, marked by birth and breeding directly descended from the great kings of the Scots, Malcolm II and III, through the thane Gospatrick, with lineage including a Plantagenet connection and ties to the Anglican Church (http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm).The majority of the Washingtons' prosperity came through marriages in the male line to wealthy widows, bringing increased landholdings and greater status (http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm).John Washington was the first Washington in the colonies and his oldest son Lawrence produced the father of George, born in 1732. Family estates included Wakefield in Westmoreland County, Ferry Farm neat Fredericksburg and Mount Vernon near Alexandria (http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm).

When George's father died, he left Mt. Vernon to his half brother Lawrence, where George spent much time (http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm).Lawrence married Anne Fairfax whose brother, William, owned the Belvoir plantation near Mt. Vernon and it through this connection that Washington met George Fairfax's wife, Sally (http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm).He was extremely attracted to her from the very beginning and when Lawrence died, Washington inherited Mt. Vernon and thus, his relationship with Sally continued throughout his life (http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm).She is said to be the one true love of his life and throughout the years, they exchanged many letters (http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm).

There has been much speculation through the years concerning George and Sally's relationship. Many believe that the relationship was a life long love affair between the two, however, others such as historian James Thomas Flexner, believe George did not commit adultery (Eady 1984). According to Flexner, who researched letters and documented the relationship, "There's no reason to suppose an affair between them in the real sense of the word...Sally was the wife of George's best friend, Will Fairfax...and some years older than George...he became and her admire and disciple" (Eady 1984). However, Flexner says that there is no denying that Washington was sexually attracted to Sally, but, think Sally stood for uncontrolled, irrational passion in his life...He married Martha partly to escape from this. Martha was not a beautiful woman. Their marriage was a lesson to him that doing things more reasonably produced more salutary results" (Eady 1984).

Flexner believes that Will and Martha were tolerant of their spouses' relationship, "For Will, there was probably a satisfaction in having your best friend greatly admiring your wife, as long as you feel confident" (Eady 1984).

In the Washington family tradition, George married Martha Dandridge Custis, a widow, on January 6, 1759 and thereby increased his land holdings by some 17,000 acres and acquired a town house in Williamsburg and two stepchildren, John Parke Custis and Martha Parke Custis (http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm.(accessed 12-03-2003). The Washington family prospered in a life of a genteel planter family at Mt. Vernon, and although he maintained a relationship with Sally Fairfax through letters, he continued to express his love and devotion to Martha (http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm.(accessed 12-03-2003).

George and Martha's gracious and comfortable life at Mt. Vernon was interrupted when Washington was called to head the Continental Army in the American Revolution (http://www.gi.grolier.com/presidents/ea/first/01pw.html).During the eight years George was…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Eady, Brenda. "Did they or didn't they?" People Weekly. January 23, 1984.

George Washington." The SAR Magazine. Winter 1999 Vol. XCIII. No. 3. http://www.sar.org/sarmag/GW.htm.(accessed 12-03-2003).

George Washington the Husband." http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/aa/leaders/wash/martha_1 accessed 12-03-2003).

Martha Dandridge Custis Washington." http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/firstladies/mw1.html accessed 12-03-2003).

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