Today on the Girls Gotta Read Podcast, we’re talking about George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in celebration of President’s Day. As a student, George Washington copied down these rules, which trace back to French Jesuits in the late 1500s, as part of a penmanship exercise.
Of course, we all know that George Washington was a gentleman–both the legends and historical accounts of him tell us just as much. But would civility, which had so long been attached to a King’s court, be able to survive in the new nation of the United States? And what does it mean to be civil in today’s society? Are Washington’s rules now outdated, or could we benefit from their revival? And would the presidents who came after George Washington be as decent and well-mannered as him? (Hint: Mostly, no–LBJ, we are looking at you.)