"The red coat was changed for one of blue and buff, a sword was held in the hand instead of a sceptre, the head was decorated with a cocked hat, and underneath was painted in large characters, “GENERAL WASHINGTON.”..."
See in text (Rip Van Winkle)
The appearance of the town, the behavior of its inhabitants, and indeed, the government of the country, have changed significantly while Rip has been gone. However the face of King George III’s looking out from the clothes of George Washington shows that at the core, some things are much as Rip left them. Rip’s blurring together of George Washington and George III is indicative of his “missing time” on a personal level, as he looks for links to the familiar past. It is also symbolic of the distance governments often have from the everyday lives of people, rendering authority figures somewhat interchangeable to Rip and his village.