|Posted: July 17, 2005, 2:32 pm - IP Logged|
George Washington, our country's first president and one of the best-known heroes in American history, played the lottery. Not only did he participate, but he was indirectly responsible for many others playing as well.
In 1753, the lieutenant governor of Virginia ordered Washington to travel through Maryland and Pennsylvania to warn a French commander from encroaching on English-claimed territory. But Washington's warning was ignored. Seven months later, Washington and his men made a surprise attack on an advance group of 30 French soldiers in Pennsylvania — killing the commander and nine others. The bloodshed launched the French and Indian War.
The French defeated Colonel Washington and his men in Great Meadows, Pa. in July, 1754. The Virginia legislature, disturbed by the defeat of young Washington, "initiated a scheme [lottery] to raise 6,000 pounds to protect its citizens" against the French.
Besides being a catalyst for the spread of lotteries to raise needed funds for the military, Washington was the first president to buy lottery tickets, purchasing 20 tickets (at six shillings each) for a 1790 lottery that would help finance the paving of streets in Alexandria, Va. In 1793, he bought tickets for himself and family friends in a lottery organized by Commissioners of the District of Columbia, for "improvement of the Federal City."