George Washington Monument1200 Gervais Street
Ground floor of the South Carolina State House
Designed by Jean Antoine-Houdon between 1788-1792
Cast in bronze by William J. Hubard in 1857
Purchased by the State of South Carolina in 1858
North of the east wing of State House
Installed 1911 with new base
Plaque written by Alexander S. Salley and installed by Historical Commission of South Carolina in 1930
Purchased in 1858, the statue of George Washington is a full-size bronze copy of a marble statue made in 1788-1792 for the Virginia State Capitol. French artist Jean-Antoine Houdon depicted Washington resigning as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army: he relinquishes his power to the democracy (represented by his sword hanging on a bundle of thirteen reeds) in order to return to his farm (symbolized by the plow at his feet). Originally installed on the ground floor of the South Carolina State House, the statue expressed the kinship that antebellum South Carolina politicians felt with the revolutionary hero and slaveholder as they defended their own right to continue as a society defined by slavery. The statue was moved from the ground floor of the state house outside in 1889 and to its current location in 1911. In its 1931 report, the Historical Commission of South Carolina reported an expenditure of $40 for a bronze plaque “reciting the abuse accorded it by Federal soldiers in February, 1865.” This plaque provides an explanation for Washington's broken cane.
As mentioned in Historically Complex: The Podcast
Introducing Historically Complex, a new podcast on the complicated histories of key monuments on the South Carolina State House grounds -- now available to stream and download on our website or your favorite podcast service!