FACT CHECK: Did George Washington Say This Quote About ‘Christian Religion’?


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An image shared on Facebook claims that former President George Washington once said, “The gov’t of the US is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion. The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Washington authored the statement. The first sentence comes from a version of the Treaty of Tripoli; the second may actually be a variation of a line from a biography of Albert Gallatin, the treasury secretary from 1801 to 1814.

Fact Check:

Washington, a founding father and the nation’s first president, is frequently ascribed sayings on governance and religion. (RELATED: Did George Washington Say This Quote About The ‘Willingness With Which Our Young People Are Likely To Serve In Any War’?)

However, there is no evidence that Washington ever said or wrote the expression attributed to him in the Facebook post. It appears nowhere in the Papers of George Washington or his recorded speeches.

A quick internet search revealed that the first line actually comes from the English-language version of the Treaty of Tripoli. The treaty, which was ratified in 1797, sought to protect American ships

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