Campus News

Charter lecturer details Washington’s role at 1787 convention

George Washington’s legacy as a general during the American Revolution and as America’s first president has long been established. At the Charter Lecture April 23 in the Chapel, former UGA professor Edward J. Larson contended that Washington also should be remembered as a force behind America’s new direction that took shape at the 1787 Constitutional Convention.

“He was profoundly involved and almost a lynchpin of the nationalist movement,” Larson said.

Larson, University Professor of History and Darling Professor of Law at Pepperdine University, wrote the book The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789. In it, he recounts the period between Washington’s generalship during the American Revolution and his presidency after the Constitutional Convention.

During the Charter Lecture, Larson detailed Washington’s participation in shaping a new government after the failure of the Articles of Confederation, America’s first governing document. Larson challenged traditional views that the Founding Father was apolitical and silent about reform.

During the crafting of the Constitution, Larson said, “Washington had been there throughout—just as he had during the first American Revolution—making him truly the father of this country.”

The Charter Lecture, part of UGA’s Signature Lecture Series, was named to honor the high ideals expressed by UGA’s founders in the 1785 charter.