Inventing George Washington: America's Founder, In Myth And Memory

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In Inventing George Washington: America’s Founder, in Myth and Memory, historian Edward Lengel produces a novel that examines our founding father, George Washington, and all the myths that have been created involving him. This is not an autobiography about Washington, but merely a myth buster featuring Washington. Lengel does an excellent job at explaining these illusions and then telling the readers how these illusions have come to define Washington. Each generation had their own outlook on Washington according to what writers of that generation wrote about him. Lengel aims to debunk these delusions by sifting through the probable and the improbable myths. With each myth Lengel deciphers, the more mystical and gloomy Washington gets. Edward Lengel takes 3 centuries of information that has piled up about Washington and attempt to explain how these stories have defined our first founding father. Lengel weaves his way through the many myths made up and exaggerated surrounding Washington and how…show more content…
P.T Barnum was one of the most famous of these profiteers. He claimed he found a woman by the name of Joice Heth who was the one hundred and sixty year old nurse of Washington. He let her talk to the public about young Washington; this was to help prove the validity of his claim. Barnum’s sidekick in this hoax, Levi Lyman, explained how Barnum sat down and made Heth pretend she was really Washington’s nurse. He profited off this by making people pay to sit and listen to Heth speak about Washington. At one point he said that she was just a “mechanical automaton” which made people revisit and see this apparition in pure form, meaning more money for Barnum. It was later determined, after an autopsy, that Heth could only be about 80 years old making Barnum’s claim false. He was extremely successful in using George Washington’s name to profit

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