As in the case of his career as commander-in-chief, Washington’s most important act as president was his giving up the office. The significance of his retirement from the presidency is easily overlooked today, but his contemporaries knew what it meant. Most people assumed that Washington might be president as long as he lived, that he would be a kind of elected monarch like the king of Poland. Hence his retirement from the presidency enhanced his moral authority and set a precedent for future presidents.
Son of John and Abigail Adams, diplomat, senator, sixth President, congressman; 1767—1848.
”Light Horse Harry”; Continental Army officer, Virginia governor; 1756—1818.
Constitutionalist, congressman, Secretary of State, fourth President; 1751—1836.
Soldier, lawyer, politician, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; 1755—1835.
Militia soldier, military tactician, Continental Army general; 1736—1802.
Soldier, delegate to the Constitutional Convention, congressman, South Carolina governor, senator; 1757—1824.
Lawyer and politician from Connecticut; signer of the Declaration of Independence; 1721—93.
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)