George Washington’s Legacy
Washington Stands Down
A triumphant general in Washington’s position might have tried to seize power, but Washington, like other Americans, saw himself and his army as agents of the Continental Congress. During the war, he deferred to its directives even when he disagreed with them. At war’s end, he returned to private life.
On December 23, 1783, Washington appeared before the Congress meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, and surrendered his commission as general and commander in chief. Per order of Congress, he signaled his deference to the members by bowing; in return, they denoted their authority by only lifting their hats. Washington then bid them farewell and returned to his farm.