FACT CHECK: Did George Washington Say This Quote About A ‘Government’s Right To Govern’

Aryssa Damron | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook by the page The Conservative Circuit claimed that President George Washington said, “When government takes away citizens’ right to bear arms it becomes citizens’ duty to take away government’s right to govern.”

Verdict: False

The Daily Caller found no evidence of Washington ever saying or writing this. Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon lists this expression on its page of “spurious quotations.”

Fact Check:

While quotes from the first president are often used to make political arguments, this quote does not originate with Washington. His estate at Mount Vernon has documented so many cases of misattribution that it devoted an entire page to quotes that did not come from him.

Some of these spurious quotations are incorrect portrayals of Washington’s actual statements, or are taken from writings about him rather than works he wrote himself. For this quote in particular, Mount Vernon “has yet to find an explanation for this misquote or a similar quote of Washington’s that was confused for this statement,” its website says.

Neither the quote nor any variation of it appears in Washington’s writings.

The 2nd Amendment was ratified in 1791, nearly three years into Washington’s first term as president.

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Aryssa Damron

Fact Check Reporter