George Washington’s Rules of Civility

George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation (PDF ebook)

These rules of good behavior were copied by young George Washington when he was a 12 year old schoolboy. They are quite fun (some are VERY funny), interesting and rewarding to read even today. Some of these rules seem quite picky and silly in this day and time, but the spirit behind these rules demonstrates a respect for others and humility in one’s own behavior, both of which are often sorely lacking these days. Several of these are very good advice to take to heart for boys (and grownups) today. We’ve retained Washington’s original spellings in this edition, which can be used as a copybook or just to show your kids that even the father of our country was a little kid once too. Enjoy!

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6 thoughts on “George Washington’s Rules of Civility

  1. Every school aged child should read George Washington’s Rules of Civilty [& Decent Behaviour In Company and Conversation]. He copied them into his own copybook as a young boy sometime before the age of 16, possibly at about 12. According to (which article should be read also) they are not original to him, but appear to have been copied from a Jesuit source (c. 1595) and, translated into English, are seen in school work of 12 yr. old Francis Hawkins in 1640. A modern child may read to see the mistakes and changes in spelling, grammar, and just plain manner or behavioral norms. They are popular as copywork nowadays, indeed quite profitably.

    A veteran homeschool mom and 18th c. reenactor

  2. Thank you so much. This is the perfect copy work for the age of 12. It is also great to see the different spelling. It is also great for the kids to try to figure out what is meant as many thing are not how we would say them today.

  3. Great resource! Our state history museum currently has a George Washington exhibit and this will be a great part of our primer work. Many thanks!

  4. I enjoyed reading what Mr. Washington had copied. I think it would also be a great spelling assignment. This could be a good spelling list then, children could be given the assignment to correct the spelling!

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