Bushrod Washington 1762–1829

Born Westmoreland County, Virginia

Born into a prominent Tidewater, Virginia, family, Bushrod Washington (a nephew of President George Washington) studied law and graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1778. He was in private practice until President John Adams appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1801. There, he allied himself with John Marshall and Joseph Story to compose a Federalist bloc advocating for American nationalism and a strong federal government. Their efforts shaped the judicial system and set precedents for the legal relationships between the federal government and the states. Washington served on the Supreme Court until his death.

Between 1828 and 1830, the artist Chester Harding painted numerous portraits of political figures in and around Washington, D.C., including portraits of all of the Supreme Court justices. While several of Harding’s portraits have been lost, this life portrait descended in the family of his namesake.


  • Title: Bushrod Washington
  • Creator: Chester Harding
  • Date Created: 1828
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Gift of the Washington family, with thanks to the many Washingtons who valued this painting and preserved it for nearly two centuries
  • External Link: https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.2017.80
  • Classification: Painting

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