George Washington

"First in War, First in Peace, First in the Hearts of His Countrymen."

Serving unselfishly without pay and at great personal risk throughout the American Revolution, George Washington triumphed against all odds overcoming the most powerful nation on earth. After victory was won there were those who wanted to make him king but Washington refused what would have been a betrayal of the great vision which so many had sacrificed for and opted instead to return home to Mt. Vernon. The only president to be elected unanimously, Washington served two terms and then voluntarily stepped down. His continued refusal to betray his convictions and grasp absolute power inspired even his former enemy King George III to be filled with admiration and refer to Washington as "the greatest man of the age."

In his private life he was known as a gentleman of lofty character who thoroughly enjoyed social occasions. Washington loved to dance. He was regarded as one of the best dancers in Virginia and would not miss a Ball if he could help it. There were balls held in his honor while he was a general, a ball for his inauguration as president and annual balls were held in honor of his birthday. Balls in honour of Washington's birthday were held in various parts of the United States during his lifetime. They were a tradition which continued far beyond Washington's time, even by both North and South during the War Between the States and indeed throughout the 19th century.

After the successful conclusion of the American Revolution a season of Balls were held each year in the City of Richmond, Virginia known as the Richmond Assemblies. Tickets were sold in advance and guests were expected to abide by a certain set of rules. For instance ladies needed to be at least 13 years of age to attend and gentlemen at least 18. No apprentices were admitted. The only alcohol allowed was for the punch and that in a "small quantity." Any lady who abandoned her place in a set committed a great social faux pas and was not allowed to dance again for the rest of the evening.

One of these "Richmond Assemblies" was held each year in honor of George Washington's Birthday. John Marshall, a future Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, attended the one held in 1783 and wrote to a friend the next day that he had "been setting up all night at an Assembly [Ball]. We have them in Richmond regularly once a fortnight [every two weeks]. The last was a brilliant one; 'twas on the General's birth night. Never did I see such a collection of handsome ladies. I do not believe that Versailles [the Royal French Court] or Saint James's [the British Court] ever displayed so much beauty. I wish you had been present. The Virginians would have retained their high place in your opinion."

George Washington was regarded as one of the finest dancers in Virginia. That is saying something as journals, letters and other first-person accounts inform us that 18th century Virginians had a reputation throughout America and England for their great love of dancing. Ladies were known to wait for hours in order to have a dance with George and he was glad to oblige even if it meant dancing all night. (One must be willing to make sacrifices for the ladies!)


The friendly family of We Make History (representing appreciative Americans of several centuries) have enjoyed renewing the historic tradition of honoring the birthday of this most beloved American through an annual Grand Ball, dancing (as we have learned) being one of Washington's very favourite pastimes. In the generous spirit of this great American, persons of all levels of dancing ability and all levels of historic attire from throughout America's history from Washington's time to the 21st century are all welcome.

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A Look at Past Balls Celebrating George Washington's Birthday

2009 Washington's Birthday Ball

2008 Washington's Birthday Ball

2007 Washington's Birthday Ball

2006 Washington's Birthday Ball

2005 Washington's Birthday Ball

2004 Washington's Birthday Ball

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