The Presidency: The Legacy of 1783

The Presidency/ Hugh Sidey

In the Old Senate Chamber of the Annapolis State House last Friday, General George Washington, after nearly nine years as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, resigned his military commission before Congress. It was an emotional moment. By voluntarily yielding martial authority, Washington authenticated the American experiment in democracy and citizen government.

Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe watched. The delegates there from the states kept their hats on to demonstrate civil ascendancy. Washington's farewell took about three minutes and the response from Thomas Mifflin, president of Congress,...

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