Was George Washington The Richest Man In America At Some Point?

George Washington was indeed a monumental figure in American history. He helped lead our people to freedom from British rule and became the beloved first President of the United States, earning him his title as the great Founding Father of our nation.

George Washington was undoubtedly a wealthy man of his time, but records suggest that Benjamin Franklin and Robert Morris may have outdone him in the riches department. While their wealth is well-known today, both men had extraordinary financial clout during Washington’s era – making them two potential powerhouses of money back then richer than George Washington.

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U.S. President George Washington’s Wealth

George Washington

Undoubtedly, George Washington was one of the wealthiest men in 18 century America. He was a wealthy landowner who owned over 50,000 acres before the Revolutionary War. At his death, his estate was valued at more than $780,000, a considerable sum for that period.

But like many during this period, George Washington was land rich and probably cash-poor. Most of his money and assets were tied up in his land, which did not necessarily mean he had a lot of liquid cash.

His house at Mount Vernon, which you can visit today, was one of the most luxurious houses in America at the time. His house reflected a lot of his wealth.

You can find out more about visiting Mount Vernon by clicking here. If you can visit Mount Vernon, we highly recommend it.

The House of George Washington

You can find beautiful furniture and art pieces in the Mount Vernon house, such as paintings, mirrors, statues, etc. George Washington’s home at the time was considered a home of great luxury.

But just like many other people during this time, George Washington had hundreds of enslaved people who helped to run his estate.

Despite his political and social influence, George Washington wasn’t the wealthiest man in America during that era. Reports suggest Benjamin Franklin and Robert Morris had more money than him – though without our modern-day tax laws, it was hard to be sure who held the top spot.

Benjamin Franklin Was Considered A Very Rich Man

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin is also another man that was considered to be very wealthy during this time. But today, there is some debate about how wealthy he was. Some people consider him the wealthiest man in America, and some feel he was more prosperous than George Washington.

Others have said that George Washington was wealthier than Benjamin Franklin. The truth is that we do not know either of these men’s exact wealth.

Benjamin Franklin had a successful printed business, real estate investments, and other ventures. He was also considered a financial genius, as he understood and researched compound interest and financial strategic planning.

Robert Morris May Have Been The Wealthiest Man

Robert Morris

But it may be Robert Morris, wealthier than Benjamin Franklin or George Washington. He owned many lands, including seven large plantations, and ran a successful shipping business.

Robert Morris is generally considered the financier of the American revolution. He donated ships from his fleet of tobacco trading vessels to help the American revolution. But he also turned to privateering and raiding British convoys.

Robert Morris was a signer of the American Declaration of Independence and served as a Senator from Pennsylvania. Because of his wealth and financial acreman, Congress appointed him Superintendent of Finance of the United States from 1781 to 1784, which came authority over the financing to support the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.

Robert Morris was known to sign over 6000 notes to pay off Washington’s troops when the war ended.

Robert Morris became such a critical financial person during this period that when he was appointed Superintendent of Finance of the United States in 1781, he made two demands which were issued to Congress:

  • One demand was that he could not dismiss any employee within the treasury he wanted to add at any time.
  • The second demand was that he could maintain his private business while still in the public position.

The fact that Congress granted him these two requests shows that they needed Morris to accept the position of Superintendent of Finance for the United States, 

It was also Robert Morris who succeeded in establishing a national bank. He called for a national mint to create a uniform currency for the United States. Robert Morris is thought of as the one person who helped bring drastic changes to the structure of the Treasury of the United States.

Although President George Washington was not considered the wealthiest man in America, his wealth made him one of the most powerful in Colonial America. His wealth also helped him become an influential leader during the American Revolution and later become the first President of the United States of America.

George Washington will long be remembered as one of America’s great founding fathers.

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Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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Was George Washington The Richest Man In America At Some Point?