FACT CHECK: Did George Washington Say This Quote About The ‘Willingness With Which Our Young People Are Likely To Serve In Any War’?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims that former President George Washington said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

Verdict: False

The Daily Caller found no evidence that the quote originated with Washington. His estate at Mount Vernon considers it a “spurious quotation.”

Fact Check:

Washington served as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and later as the first U.S. president. (RELATED: Did George Washington Say This Quote About Government?)

While Washington did speak and write about military matters during his lifetime, there is no record of him ever saying or writing the quote attributed to him in the Facebook post. It cannot be found in any of his written works or surviving speeches.

His estate at Mount Vernon includes the expression on its list of “spurious quotations” as well.

“We have never tracked down where it originated (though that might be an interesting project), but I suspect that it was in the nineteenth century,” Edward Lengel, former director of the George Washington Papers at the University of Virginia, told National Review in 2008. “The Victorians had an affinity for fabricating quotes from the Founding Fathers.”

Nevertheless, the quote has been falsely attributed to Washington by numerous public figures, including the late Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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