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.
Continental Army general; key to winning the war in the South; 1742—86.
Washington’s aide-de-camp, lawyer, contributor to the Federalist Papers, Secretary of the Treasury; 1755/1757—1804.
Continental Army general, chief artillery officer, first Secretary of War; 1750—1806.
Continental Army officer, aide-de-camp to Washington, son of Henry Laurens; 1754—82.
Continental Army general, formerly a British officer; 1732—82.
”Light Horse Harry”; Continental Army officer, Virginia governor; 1756—1818.
Irish-born Continental Army general, formerly a British officer; 1738—75.
Aide-de-camp to Washington throughout the Revolutionary War; 1744—1786.
Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army; first President; 1732—99.
Continental Army general, defeated the British at Stony Point; 1745—96.
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)