FACT CHECK: Did George Washington Say, ‘Agriculture Is The Most Healthful, Most Useful And Most Noble Employment Of Man’?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook said former President George Washington once said, “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Washington ever said or wrote this saying. His estate at Mount Vernon labels it a “spurious quotation.”

Fact Check:

Washington, like many of the founding fathers, is often credited with expressions he never actually said or wrote. The specific quote about agriculture appears to be one such example. (RELATED: Did George Washington Say This Quote About A ‘Government’s Right To Govern’?)

Indeed, there is no record of Washington ever making the statement attributed to him in the Facebook post. The Daily Caller News Foundation searched the Papers of George Washington and the National Archives online database for the expression but turned up no matches. It doesn’t appear anywhere in his correspondence or recorded speeches either.

Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon includes the saying on its “spurious quotations” page, with the entry reading, “The library has yet to find an explanation for this misquote or locate another individual who said this statement.”

While there is little evidence that Washington ever said or wrote the expression, he did hold agricultural work in high regard. In a 1794 letter to John Sinclair, Washington wrote, “I know of no pursuit in which more zeal & important service can be rendered to any Country than by improving its agriculture – its breed of useful animals – and other branches of a husbandman’s cares.”

The misattributed quote has appeared in agricultural publications since at least the 1830s, according to Mount Vernon.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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