How successful was Washington's presidency?

1 Answer
Apr 18, 2016

The first Presidency of a new nation has different measurements of success, and Washington's was incredibly successful.


With no precedent before him, except the failure of the Articles of Confederation, Washington's two terms as president have many hallmarks of later administrations. In part, that's because Washington set the precedents others would follow. He made the guidelines as he went along by which subsequent governments would be measured. In doing so, the new nation stabilized, set new monetary policies that helped it retire its wartime debt, and began to grow and prosper in peacetime. He also had to forcefully quell resistance to the new government's tax and trade policies.

Perhaps the most important precedent he set was in stepping down after eight years. As the only president unanimously elected to the office, twice, and with the unwavering support of his military comrades, Washington fits the mold of later revolutionary leaders who achieved power in peacetime and never handed it over until death or coup took it back.

But Washington followed the Constitution, allowed the election for his successor to take place, and gracefully retired from the political scene, UNLIKE many military dictators in other countries who came after him.