Hutchinson, Thomas

Boston, MA — Built in 1713, the Old State House was the seat of Massachusetts government in the 18th century. It is the oldest surviving public building in Boston and one of the most important public buildings still standing from the original 13 colonies.

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.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)