George Washington's

Bastille Key
"The Liberty Key"


Courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

n exciting tale of two revolutions, the men who made them, and the key that connected them. 
Follow the fight for freedom
an idea whose time had come taking two different paths, with two dramatically different outcomes. 

"Definitely the Key Book about George Washington!"

The amazing story of how George Washington came by his Key "of" Liberty
...and his wise counsel on the Key "to" Liberty that has made America great!*

This highly insightful book links Mount Vernon's Bastille Key (and its tortuous travels through bloody, revolutionary France) to George Washington's 
character and his advice on the three key, crucial, and indispensable conditions for freedom to survive and thrive:  "Character, Culture, Constitution."

Discover the amazing magic of George Washington's Liberty Key, Mount Vernon's Bastille Key, in this wonderfully crafted history book!

Copies with author-signed bookplates now available at the Shops at Mount Vernon

Newsflash (Fareed Zakaria GPS "Last Look: Bastille Day"):  

     This new book shines a bright light on the most interesting key ever made – America's premier symbol of liberty's victory over tyranny – which now hangs in the central passageway of George Washington’s Mount Vernon mansion, helping to greet over a million visitors a year.  The main key to the Bastille prison in Paris, it was given in 1790 to Washington, the patriarch of liberty, by his missionary, the Marquis de Lafayette, who took the “sacred fire of liberty" he discovered in America and tried to fan its flames in France.  Become a history detective and uncover how this unique key was made, how the man who made it helped kill a king, and how it made its way to Mount Vernon.  Along the way, experience the fascinating twists and turns made in unlocking the doors hiding the truth about the key, which some have (incorrectly) argued is a counterfeit.  Then distill what Washington and Lafayette each believed was the “key” to establishing and maintaining liberty, and what went right and wrong in their respective revolutions.  Finally, learn how the key continues to inspire a world-wide devotion to freedom – with Washington's personal challenge to you

     So, should we care that the Mount Vernon Bastille key is, in Lafayette’s words, “the main key to the Bastille…the fortress of despotism”?  Yes, we should care, because some, not the least of which was the French Count Chateaubriand, who witnessed the storming of the Bastille and later saw George Washington’s key in Philadelphia, thought it was a fraud.  Called the “greatest character of the age” by British King George III, was Washington, the man who made America great with his genius of character, the victim of a hoax?  Should he have believed Lafayette, his “adopted son” and most fervent fan, that this was not only a Bastille key but its main key?  How do we know how this “main key,” if that’s what it was, survived the chaos and pandemonium of the revolutionary attack on the Bastille in 1789 Paris to make its way into Lafayette’s hands and thence, over a tortuous trip of 4,000 miles in 1790, to Washington in New York City?  And why might Lafayette not have substituted a larger, more impressive-looking key such as the one he gave decades later to Washington’s Masonic Lodge [National Memorial] in Alexandria, Virginia?  If it’s not the real "main key," have “We the People,” the tens of millions of visitors to Mount Vernon over the years, been fooled?  And has George Washington, our preeminent Founding Father, who above all aspired to be an honest man, been an unwitting participant in such fraud?  “Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take; but as for me, I'd recommend getting a 'lock' on it by reading George Washington's Liberty Key!"


Current version 1.13    March 2019
"Pin it for later"


Buy Book (Amazon Prime Members): Click below

George Washington's Liberty Key: Mount Vernon's Bastille Key - the Mystery and Magic of Its Body, Mind, and Soul
Print version $17.90   Kindle $9.95   Amazon Matchbox (Print first $17.90 qualifies for later $0.00 Kindle versions)

Link to Extra Supplements for previous purchasers (includes creative method of measurement for accurate Bastille size and dimensions,
interesting photos, with link to photos of the Iron Mask and Bastille Door)

When even more interesting things don't fit on Extra Supplements (eg news of an upcoming Youtube movie/video of how I solved the mystery of how big the Bastille was),
I put them here in Blog Form.  Click here and then Follow for automatic updates.

Click here for artwork.


     Author Bill Bahr introduces and brings to life FerrousTM  the key and his improbable journey from the iron foundries of 18th century France to a Bastille prison gate and finally to the entrance hall of George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.  In this book, follow FerrousTM  to learn what the best history work can tell about the truth behind what Mount Vernon tour-guides have called “George Washington’s Liberty Key”!  FerrousTM  once represented tyranny and oppression – synonymous with the fate of a prisoner condemned without trial or hope.  Now FerrousTM  stands for the idea of liberty, so cherished by George Washington  –  in his own words  –  "a token of victory gained by Liberty over Despotism."  What a transformation! 

     It was the cost of the French and Indian War, ignited by George Washington and fought in the American colonies, which called forth the British taxes which led to the American revolt.  It was France’s later aid to the American rebels which helped the colonies defeat England but which also emptied France’s treasury and contributed to the unrest leading to the French Revolution and after many a year to France’s own sustained freedom. 

     After the French Revolution dismantled both the Bastille and France’s absolute monarchy, the Marquis de Lafayette had FerrousTM  presented to George Washington as a thank you to the man who showed that freedom was possible.  To fully comprehend the magnitude of this symbolic gift requires one to understand the tremendous impact that the success of the American Revolution had not only on the thirteen colonies but the whole world and especially France, due in immeasurable part to the "indispensable man" George Washington.    

     While helping Lafayette get FerrousTM from France to George Washington in America, Thomas Paine said, That the principles of America opened the Bastille is not to be doubted; and therefore the key comes to the right place.”

     For more information about FerrousTM (the key "of" liberty), George Washington's ideas about the key "to" liberty, and your important role in his vision, you have come to the right place    this book!  Buy it and let Washington and his key inspire and challenge you for a better tomorrow!  $17.90 – a great price for a great year!

* From "The Mind" of Washington and Lafayette  –  "Character, Culture, Constitution"TM    (Honor, Country, Duty)


    Author Bill Bahr

     Bill Bahr is a retired telecommunications executive.  A graduate of West Point, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, working in Germany, Cambodia (the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh), and Korea before moving into commercial telecommunications.  Along with earning three masters degrees and two patents, Bill held marketing/sales directorships at major corporations.  His work helped spark the revolution in facsimile machines and the build-out in cellular systems and the internet, with both Bill and his products receiving many public accolades.  Now volunteering in a number of community service organizations, Bill is an active participant in Rotary, VFW, and CHARACTER COUNTS!, where he has served in various leadership roles.  In his spare time, Bill unabashedly admires George Washington.  The new book “George Washington’s Liberty Key” is a result of Bill’s curiosity and extensive reading about Mount Vernon's Bastille key and the extraordinary, enabling, and ennobling character of George Washington.  Another new book by Bill Bahr:  Strategy Pure and Simple:  Essential Moves for Winning in Competition and Cooperation


Copies with author-signed bookplate available at the Shops at Mount Vernon



Bits of Praise from Key Readers
 (in descending order received - latest is last)

"This book must've taken years of researching and writing!  I either didn't pay too much attention in school or forgot it all, but I can tell you I learned (or re-learned) something from every single chapter.  Heck, I was in France a few years ago and didn't learn this much during all of the museum tours!"  –  KG 

"A genuine contribution to both American and lock & key histories!"  –  SK (antique lock & key expert)

"I recommend it.  Very detailed...interesting if you like history.  I enjoyed it very much!"  –  JA

"A masterpiece of historical fact.  Fascinating and insightful rendering of little known artifact from the life of America's greatest statesman!"  –  KC

"An impressive book!"   JD

"Captivated from the moment I opened the book.  It's really original to write a story from the perspective of the Key!  A fun and interesting read.  Kudos!   –  DG

"Fascinating!  Just started reading this book, and I'm totally captivated."  – AL

"I really enjoyed this book. The author does a terrific job of explaining the history of the Liberty Key, the French and American Revolutions and how they were all linked by the relationship of George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette. Very entertaining and informative!"  – FR

"Fascinating!  The title of this book undersells the content. It is an outstanding historical perspective of the French Revolution and how it relates to the American Revolution and George Washington.  Besides being an easy read, it provides an anthology of the events which were taking place at the time, and links the key figures related to the Bastille, the French Revolution and the American Revolution. The Key itself just forms the link surrounding all of the stories told.  It offers a behind the scenes view which is not normally found in history books. I highly recommend this book!" – BD (architect)

"The narrator of this book is a totally relevant (yet inanimate) object. History has rarely been this exciting. In a fast-paced narrative, we learn in detail about two revolutions. More significantly, we gain key insights into why the American one succeeded and the French ones fizzled, repeatedly. Mr. Bahr takes us on a personal tour, from the back rooms of the Bastille and bowels of a blacksmith's shop to the Palace of Versailles and the stately rooms of George Washington's Mount Vernon home. Along the way, we learn the little known facts that shape history. Cleverly organized, the story unfolds in a way that's easy to follow and delightful to read."  – SB

"This is an excellent book, well written, thoroughly and meticulously researched and very highly recommended, especially to those interested in early American history, the history of the French revolution and above all, that of the Bastille.  The book is playfully appealing in that it is written in the third person of the Bastille key. ... All in all, an excellent book, an engaging and enjoyable read!"  – TL

"An amazing amount of research!" EA

"I really enjoyed the book!"  PS

"Very impressive work and well illustrated!" – BD (lock and key expert)

"A truly fascinating study!" – DS (museum curator)

"Great job of making history come alive! ... If you love history, you love those pivotal moments, when the arch of history and the fate of entire nations are changed.  July 14th, 1789, is the date when the Bastille prison fell and the Republic of France rose and the date marking one of those pivotal moments in history.  But if you really love history, you love the great stories connected to those pivotal moments, stories that few of us have heard before.  They sit there in the dark, dusty corners of the past until someone with special insights and a passion for storytelling shines a light on them and dusts them off for us all to see.  Bill Bahr does exactly that with Liberty Key.  I knew, or thought I knew, the story of the French Revolution but not with the detail that Bill uncovers. All the events leading up to, through and beyond July 14, 1789, are in this book, but the story of this key and how it came to Mount Vernon as a gift to and beloved possession of George Washington is the real gift Bill gives the reader."  – ML

"A fascinating book about Mount Vernon's Bastille Key, its travels from Paris to Mount Vernon, VA, and why it is, indeed, the main key to the Bastille, despite various claims it isn't. Book also covers Washington's and Lafayette's thoughts about the key "to" liberty and the requirements to defend and keep it. Great as well as a ready-reference book, as it's packed full of fascinating facts and intriguing insights. Holds your interest with enlightening pictures and humorous puns, turning dry history into living adventure!"    IL

"Great book not about paczki, but maybe a pun(ch)-key?  This solid, scholarly work on Bastille keys, especially the Mount Vernon Bastille Key, is liberally filled with puns, pictures, and most of all, highly interesting facts not easily found elsewhere, all of which bring history alive.  The book mainly deals with the physics and philosophy of George Washington's Liberty Key:  how it was made, what it did, how it found its way to Mount Vernon, what it meant to George Washington and Lafayette, what they each believed to be the essential requirements (key) for Liberty, how the Key has inspired a world-wide devotion to freedom, and much, much more, to include numerous new insights overturning many decades of incorrect but widely accepted beliefs about the Bastille and its main key.  In a word:  fascinating!" MS

"Character Counts!  A great book with deep research on interesting aspects of so many varied but related topics (to name just a few: key making, the Bastille, and the French Revolution). I especially liked the way the author developed Washington’s three key requirements for liberty: character, culture, and constitution, with everything resting on character. Super advice gleaned by analyzing the writings of the Father of our Country, the indispensable man who made our country great!"   MM

"What a treat...I can't put this book down!!  The author has a wonderful sense of humor and clever insights on life!  I can't wait to read it the finish!  This is the kind of historical take on life that I love!  I can see how well done it is, and inclusive...questions, facts, photos, analysis...and I just got the book.  And I just love it!!!  I'll be buying extras for my friends that love real books... not just romance novels or gothic mysteries!  This is a keen look and a long forgotten symbol of liberty, that too many, in fact all, of these last couple generations have no idea, that hard battles were ever fought for what they take for granted!!!  JH

"A fascinating book about Mount Vernon's Bastille Key, its travels from Paris to Mount Vernon, VA, and why it is, indeed, the main key to the Bastille, despite various claims it isn't. Book also covers Washington's and Lafayette's thoughts about the key "to" liberty and the requirements to defend and keep it. Great as well as a ready-reference book, as it's packed full of fascinating facts and intriguing insights. Holds your interest with enlightening pictures and humorous puns, turning dry history into living adventure!"   TB

"I really enjoyed this book!  In investigating the history of the Mount Vernon Bastille key, it nicely develops a ready-reference guide to both the American and French revolutions.  Encyclopedic in scope, it also provides interesting ancillary information, intriguing tidbits and insights about the items and individuals of the era.  The pictures are excellent, the timelines very helpful, and the weblinks to more information (to include videos) outstanding.   Thumbs-up and heads-up (not off) for this one!"   BK

"I just started the 'Liberty Key' and am fascinated by the 'story"...I can tell I am going to love it!"  JB



Discover the amazing magic of George Washington's Liberty Key, Mount Vernon's Bastille Key, in this wonderfully crafted history book!

More time than money?  Put some of your local "voluntary" tax money to good use by putting "Liberty" in your Library. 
"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people....  They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."
  Thomas Jefferson.  Ask your library to order a copy! 

What's in your library?

Scribbler's local library has filed the book under 973.3 BAH  (Biography and History > North America > United States > Revolution and confederation (1775-89).  
ISBN-10: 1537323377   ISBN-13: 978-1537323374






Author Comments

Now completing [having completed the 1st Edition of] a book on the subject, I am [still] collecting information on efforts, works, and stories**
inspired by the Bastille Key at George Washington's Mount Vernon. 
If you have something to share or questions about the key, please see below and email wbahr @ mail . com now!



Current version 1.13    March 2019

Buy Book (Amazon Prime Members): Click below

George Washington's Liberty Key: Mount Vernon's Bastille Key - the Mystery and Magic of Its Body, Mind, and Soul

or "Pin it for later"



The Key to the Bastille was sent to George Washington by the Marquis de Lafayette with the following words (17 March 1790): 
"Give me leave, my dear General, to present you with the main key to the Bastille...the fortress of despotism.  It is a tribute
which I owe as a son to my adoptive father, as an aid de camp to my general, as a missionary of liberty to its patriarch."


  Photograph of Bastille Key in Central Passage of Mount Vernon

Courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies' Association

The Bastille Key at Mount Vernon

Replicas (click for links)

                                          Courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies' Association    

If you bought one of the keys above, you can easily "double its value" and "triple your enjoyment" by reading George Washington's Liberty Key!

Attention, history sleuths/detectives
If you have information as to why the Mount Vernon key, described by Lafayette as
the "main key" to the Bastille, may have been elsewhere described as the key to the
Bastille's "west portal," please let me know.  I am currently unable to find such
description in original documentation (also why the Bastille key at the Masonic
Temple in Alexandria, Virginia, might be called the key to the "front door," and why
Madame Tussaud's Bastille key in London might be called the key to the "main gate"). 
I am also seeking experts on antique keys/locks (as well as Bastille architecture) and would appreciate references. 
So far I do, however, have an increasing number of highly interesting ("Wow, I didn't know that!"),
well-researched theories to set straight some otherwise curiously confusing perspectives. 
Look for them and much more
   including the fascinating story of how this unique key was made and then left the pocket
of Bastille's governor on that bloody day in 1789 when the Bastille was stormed, finally ending its travels in the hands of
George Washington in 1790, to be displayed for posterity in the central passage of his Mount Vernon mansion
in the "Body" section of my upcoming book: 

George Washington’s Liberty Key:
Mount Vernon's Bastille Key – the Mystery and Magic of Its Body, Mind, and Soul


The "Mind" section of the book investigates the ideas and conceptual requirements Washington and Lafayette
saw as key or essential to Liberty.  Just what is it that opens the door and allows Liberty to flourish?  Importantly,
how did Washington and Lafayette differ in their views on what was needed to feed Liberty's "sacred fire," and
what impact did that have on the success or failure of their respective efforts to establish freedom? 

The "Soul" section of the book covers the intriguing efforts that the "Liberty Key" inspired (see below). 

The 2016 expected price is $17.90 (an historic year) + $3.10 postage (total $21.00, a salute-worthy value).  If you'd like me to alert you when my book is published, just let me know.  Merci! 



** Note:  Here are a few such inspired efforts, works, and stories in the "Soul" section of the book:


Maintaining Legal Freedoms

A miniature Bastille Key (purchased at Mount Vernon; see keychain above) inspired lawyer Stephen Abraham to heroically assist in the defense of the
Constitution and Habeas Corpus.  Described on pages 155-161 of Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Suskind's "The Way of the World" on-line:


Thanks to Julie Keating for her help in first indentifying the book as a source for the story.  I am still trying to find the TV program where I believe he was interviewed with his Mount Vernon Bastille Key.


Traveling Tribute

Brethren Represent Freemasonry in Presidential Inaugural Parade

     "Bros. George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette were aboard The Lincoln Highway Museum and Archives Float during inaugural festivities on 20 January, 2005.  Bro. Oliver O. Harris, Alexandria- Washington Lodge #22, Alexandria, Virginia, in period costume (left in photo at right) carried one of two Bastille keys Lafayette brought to America.  On February 21, 1825, Lafayette gave one key to Alexandria-Washington Lodge #22 during the Lodge’s Washington Birthday celebration.  The other key, he presented to Bro. Washington through the services of Thomas Paine and John Rutledge, and it is now on display in the Museum at Mount Vernon.  Bro. Harris was accompanied on the inaugural float by Ill.  Robert G. Watkins, 33°, in period costume as George Washington (right).  The key to the Bastille symbolizes the close connection of Masonry with the blessings of freedom that all Americans enjoy.

     "This float’s thematic representation of the "sacred fire of liberty" was the brainchild of Craig Harmon, Founder and Director of The Lincoln National Highway Museum and Archives, Galion, Ohio, which integrated this idea with the participation of about 50 firemen (photo below) from states that the Lincoln Highway passes through.  Harmon became aware of the Bastille key and the Lodge’s ownership of it from a Scottish Rite Journal article (Feb. 1998) written by RW Frank R. Dunaway, KCCH, Valley of Alexandria, when he was Chairman of the Archives Committee, Alexandria-Washington Lodge #22.

     "The Lincoln Highway, completed in 1917, was America’s first transcontinental roadway.  Constructed at a time when the automobile was emerging as an important mode of transportation, it was the fore-runner and model of the system of national highways which later developed.  This creative initiative provided the U.S. with a model of transportation efficiency which gave economic and personal freedoms to accompany the political and religious freedoms represented by Lafayette, Washington, and Lincoln on the inaugural float."

 Click here  


Impassioned Book 

American bastile:  A history of the illegal arrests and imprisonment of ...
American citizens during the late Civil War, by John A. Marshall, (1869) 1971




Search for Bastille KeyS:  The Keys to a Revolution

With permission of Bill and Lynda Grieves. Originally published in the Maine Antique Digest.

Click here  



VIP Presentation

  Click here  


New Book:  Political thriller involving the Bastille keys

  Click here Click here  



New Book:  How the American Revolution helped transform the French Army and lead to the storming of the Bastille,
with the Key a symbol of the relationship between the American and French armies and revolutions

   Click here    Click here   


Presidential Loan:  President George H. W. Bush presented Bastille Key to French President Mitterand

   Click here 



Presidential Gift:  Bastille Key Replica given by American President Obama to French President Hollande

  Click here       Click here 

Click here     Click here



Your story?  "What the 'Liberty Key' means to me!"

Need extra inspiration?  If you're an astronaut, I'll gift you a free Bastille key chain to take on your next Space Shuttle flight! 
If you're an experienced mountain climber, I'll gift you a free Bastille key chain to take on your upcoming climb of Mount Everest!
If you're a member of the Bastille Rock Band, I'll gift you a free Bastille key chain to take to/on your next concert/tour!
If you're anybody who's planning to have your picture taken soon with the President, let me know!    : ) 


See Extra Supplements link for late-entry Madam Secretary TV episode


Questions to be answered

How and why was the key made and used? 
How did it leave the Bastille and make its way to America? 
What did Washington and Lafayette each think was the key to liberty? 
What efforts has the Liberty Key inspired on behalf of liberty? 
What have been the major "Five Fooling Factors" (two of which are technological advances),
which have made researching the answers so puzzling, difficult...and intriguing.
Your question(s)?   

Still to be answered:  Who said in a video interview:  "The American Revolution was all about character!"  David McCullough? 



"The Liberty Key:  Opening Doors to Who Has It"

     George Washington's “Liberty Key,” as some call it, hangs in the central passage (front entryway) of George Washington’s Mount Vernon mansion.  In 1790, approximately nine months after the storming of the Bastille, the Marquis de Lafayette sent this key to Washington, courtesy of Thomas Paine’s services, along with the following letter:  "Give me leave, my dear General, to present you with the main key to the fortress of despotism.  It is a tribute which I owe as a son to my adoptive father, as an aide de camp to my General, as a missionary of liberty to its patriarch."

     Here is how the Ladies of Mount Vernon describe the key:  “The principal key to the Bastille is made of cast iron and weighs one pound, three ounces.  Washington's prominent display of this celebrated souvenir in the presidential household illustrated his appreciation to his French pupil as well as recognition of its symbolic importance in America.” 

     It is said that George Washington’s Bastille Key is one of the world’s most prized symbols of freedom, second only to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and placed as it was in Washington’s house, he must have passed by it several times a day.  However, what do we really know about this key?  Technically, was the Mount Vernon key indeed the “main key” to the Bastille?  Theoretically, did Washington think Lafayette would find France had in its revolutionary philosophy the key to liberty?  Thirdly, inspirationally as a symbol, could the Bastille Key open other doors to freedom?  Summed up, these three questions can be replaced with just one:  what can Mount Vernon tell us about both George Washington’s “key of liberty” and his “key to liberty”?  In even more simple words, who has the Liberty Key? 

     First, on the technical level, the Mount Vernon key (given by Lafayette in 1790) presents many interesting aspects.  It is about seven inches long and weighs about a pound.  On the other hand, the Masonic Temple key (also from the Bastille; presented by Lafayette in 1825 to Lodge 22 in Alexandria, VA), is about ten inches long and weighs upwards of five pounds.  This second key has been described as going to the “front door of the Bastille.”  But how can the Bastille’s “main key” be so much smaller than the “front door” key?  Recall that Lafayette took command of the Bastille the day after it was stormed.  Who had possession of the Bastille keys in the interim?  How did Paine send the “main key” to America?  Lafayette was in prison in Austria from 1792-77, so where might he have kept the “front door” key in his absence?  It is clear he didn’t have all the Bastille keys, as Madame Tussaud is said to have managed to make off with a number of the Bastille’s “principal keys,” to include one belonging to the “main gate.”  As well, the Musee Carnavalet has a number of Bastille prison cell keys.  Some from France have said that the key given to Washington was actually for the Bastille’s “west portal.”  Would antique locksmiths now be able to tell from key design and size which was more likely to be the Bastille’s “main key”?  Or quite possibly was more than one key required to open a particular door or gate?  Then again, given as some have written, “The number of keys of the Bastille kept increasing, and they were sent to highly placed boobies far and wide,” were any of these keys likely to be used as prison keys, especially for a prison as important as the Bastille?  Very recent research indicates there may have been as many as 400 keys to the Bastille, and another very recent work offers enticing speculation about the Mount Vernon key.  Bringing disparate secondary research together with primary information gathered at Mount Vernon should help resolve many technical questions.   

     Second, on the theoretical level, did Washington, liberty’s patriarch, think that revolutionary France, with its additional emphasis on equality and fraternity, had the key to liberty, its sine qua non, its necessary and conditions?  Writing in October 1789, newly-elected US president George Washington gave his opinion of the French Revolution.We know that George Washington believed that "System to all things is the soul of business.  To deliberate maturely and execute promptly is the way to conduct it to advantage."2  Certainly, he used similar thoughts (concepts such as “ordered liberty”) as President of the Constitutional Convention to build the structure for the United States of America.  Was the seeming paradox of “system/order” Washington’s key to liberty?  Did he see any “system” in what the French revolutionaries were doing?  What was Washington likely to have learned of the French Revolution from the newspapers he read and especially from the likes of Lafayette, Payne, and Jefferson, all of whom were in Paris during the beginning of the French Revolution, with Lafayette and Jefferson there during the storming of the Bastille?  We can see Lafayette’s frustration in his letter to Washington in August of 1790.3  What more, besides this information and the key, might Washington have received from Lafayette about opening France’s door to liberty?

     Third, as for the symbolic aspects of the Mount Vernon Bastille Key, voices such as Drew Pearson’s in 1951 have suggested that the inspirational capability of the “Liberty Key” is so powerful that it ought to be returned to France where the storming of the Bastille is celebrated yearly.  As well, as I wrote on the Library’s Facebook page back in June-August 2014, the Mount Vernon Key inspired a Supreme Court ruling (Hamdan vs Rumsfeld, 2006).4  Thus, the doors to detention camp at Guantanamo were figuratively opened by Mount Vernon’s Bastille Key.  Are there any more inspirational stories associated with George Washington’s Bastille key?

     In my humble opinion -- considering the technical (body), theoretical (mind), and symbolic (soul) aspects of George Washington’s key of liberty and key to liberty -- the power and mystery of the “Liberty Key” all together has begged for research in further opening doors to one of Washington’s most revered possessions.  This book is the result of my effort.  I think you will find fascinating the information I've uncovered.

Table of Contents


Forward & Introduction

  I.  Body:  Key [cle, clef] of Liberty

  1.  Blast:   Big bang & big furnace

  2.  Blacksmith:  Big man beating iron

  3.  Bow:  Key components:  bow, shaft, bit

  4.  Building:  Bastille prison

  5.  Brothers:  Other Bastille keys [cles]

  6.  Build-up:  Before the storm

  7.  Battle:  Storming the Bastille

  8.  Beheadings:  Getting ahead (or two)

  9.  Busy:  Getting ready to leave

10.  Bon Voyage:  Leaving France

11.  Bonne Arrivee:  Coming to America

12.  Boy & Box:  Gamain [Francois: serruier, locksmith] & Guillotine

13.  Backwash (ington?):  Left in the wake

14.  Backyard:  Revolutionary Paris

15.  Bamboozled?:  Five fooling factors out-fooled?



II.  Mind:  The Key to Liberty

16.  Mister President:  George Washington

17.  Marquis (Mar-key?):  ...Gilbert de Lafayette

18.  Miracles & Mistakes?:  Right & wrong moves

III.  Soul:  The Spirit of ’76 in the Spirit of ‘89

19.  Substance:  Tales of two men, buildings, cities, countries

20.  Stories:  Tales of inspiration


IV.  Summary

21.  Summary & Conclusion


Supplements, Sources, & Index







"Character is Key for Liberty"

"'Ordered Liberty' is liberty under law  liberty (and concomitant progress) in its most sustainable form."      W. J. Bahr,  June 2018

Placemat version       Coffee cup version       Expresso Coffee Cup





$10 DIY (Do It Yourself) Standing Desk on which "GWLK" was written             Mount Vernon                                              


Chateau de Tarascon -- Brother to the Bastille?
Facebook Pictures



Mount Vernon


Courtesy of Bernard K. Means


George Washington Masonic National Memorial

Congress presents Lafayette with sword.  He later used its golden hilt
to replace rusted hilt from sword made of bolts from the Bastille.
Right middle scene


Key, drawing, mini-Bastille, and weathervane at Mount Vernon




Sorry, FerrousTM is no relation to France's Scott Key, nor is he connected to Aleasha Keys!  


"Definitely the Key Book about George Washington!"



                                                                                                                                        "Liberty Key" by W. J. Bahr

                                                                                                                                The main key was I, to the King’s Bastille,
                                                                                                                                Jailing his foes, through Letters of Seal.
                                                                                                                                      So my fort’s end, by storm´ing
                                                                                                                                      Came with pitchforks, one morn´ing,
                                                                                                                                That no longer, would free Frenchmen kneel!

                                                                                                                                Then to the Bastille, came the Marquis,
                                                                                                                                After they’d given him me, the Key.
                                                                                                                                      Next off I went, to Washington´,
                                                                                                                                      As tribute from, this adopted son´,
                                                                                                                                To thank the Father, of Liberty´!

                                                                                                                                For saving George’s Revolution –
                                                                                                                                Government form and resolution.
                                                                                                                                      The key to keep our own freedom´?
                                                                                                                                      Strive to live by his dictum´:
                                                                                                                                “Character, Culture, Constitution!”

                                                                                                                                            – FerrousTM, the Key


"Pin it for later"


You may find just the interesting pictures and puns alone are worth the price of "tuition"!  Yes, this book is so much pun!!   

An educational read disguised as fun! 


Buy Book (Amazon Prime Members): Click below

George Washington's Liberty Key: Mount Vernon's Bastille Key - the Mystery and Magic of Its Body, Mind, and Soul


Dark Souls and Escape Room Adventure Alert
A great gift for gamers
final floor plans and confirmed keys to the real Bastille!


"Character, Culture, Constitution"TM



















Where you'll find alerts to new information items.  Please "like" (rate or review) me (to include Amazon and everywhere else)!  The Key 



   Click Here for Extra Supplements  
to include height, length, and width (size) dimensions of the Bastille  

Size of the Bastille


If you're interested in other historical items I've researched to help set stories straight,
click here for West Point Lore and here for Revolutionary War Reenactment.

Note:  I found the "'exact representation' of the key," published in a newspaper after the key was presented to George Washington.    
Click on Extra Supplements





              Our size of the Bastille       Video:  How big was the Bastille?



Our dimensions of the Bastille


Bastille Size

Link to more views of the Bastille


2nd Virginia Regiment (Revolutionary War)   West Point Lore

Copyright, W. Bahr, 2015-18




For Sale

 GWLK 8x10 Double-Matted 5x7 Reverse Silhouette Reproduction
(copyrighted, suitable for framing), with backing & crystal clear bag.

(image here not in focus)

$10 + $3.99 shipping/handling to US locations + applicable tax (TBD ~ $1)


or send check to

IBEX Systems
150 Greenfield Drive
Bloomingdale, IL  60108-3016
tel:  630 307-3634


Mousepad and more at our Zazzle Store

Still more at CafePress

Quality Quora Commentary


Check out our leading liberty-leaning friends:

Every great book needs a great bookmark and a sip of coffee.
 The shots of (and in) mugs will make you smile, too.  Ready, aim, click (below)! 


      Liberty Key of D Tune     

Note:  Mount Rushmore "Character is Key for Liberty" is at bottom of Extra Supplements

BAHR No Products
"Innovation...           opening the door to tomorrow" tm

Check us out and like us on Facebook

Return to Cover Page








Bastille Key Liberty Key