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Two Pages of Washington's Account Book Showing Public Expenses During the American Revolution

New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_615
Document Description
An account book belonging to George Washington showing public expenses during the American Revolution. The photograph of the account book was taken circa 1911.
What was Washington’s handwriting like? How is it like yours?
Today we also keep track of our expenses. How do you see adults record their expenses, and how do businesses give you a record of what you spent?
Why is it important to keep track of how much you spend?
Why did Washington record his money by using the symbol for pounds? Why didn’t he use the American dollar sign?
Historical Challenges
When was the first United States dollar printed? What was involved in the debate about the gold standard? Who was involved in it?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math and English Language Arts: Create a checkbook record of expenses that Washington may have accrued. Add or subtract the proper amount as needed. Write full descriptions of each purchase.
Harness, Cheryl. George Washington. Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group, December 1999. ISBN: 0792270967
Fritz, Jean. George Washington's Breakfast. Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, February 1998. ISBN:0698116119.
Hort, Lenny. George Washington. DK Publishing, Inc., December 2004. ISBN:075660835X.

Historical Context
This is a page from Washington’s expense book during the American Revolution. Here he recorded everything that he billed to the government, even though the government didn’t really exist yet.
Essential Question
How does war impact a society?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of this document and explain the economic impact of the American Revolution.