“If we consider ourselves, or wish to be considered by others as a United people why not adopt the measures which are characteristic of it—Act as a Nation—and support the honor & dignity of one?” —excerpt from Washington letter
Act as a Nation
On December 23, 1783, George Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief of the Continental army and returned to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia. While intending to remain a private citizen, Washington continued to use his considerable prestige to influence the political debates of the day.
In the letter on display, written in 1785, Washington addressed important issues pending before the Virginia legislature: interstate trade, westward expansion and the establishment of Kentucky, and the Potomac River canal. He expressed his belief that the new republic needed greater unity and a stronger central government.
In 1787 Washington and others who shared these views would meet in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention. They would frame a more powerful federal government under which Washington became the first president.