George Washington Sets the Stage

George Washington served as our first president from 1789 to 1797.  As the country’s first President, many of the actions he took did set important precedents.  Democratic self-rule had been absent from the world for about 2100 years, since the Greek city-state of Athens, and there were those who wanted Washington to be king.  But Washington and many of the founding fathers valued liberty and were determined to set up a government without an autocrat at the top.

George Washington left the presidency voluntarily and after two terms.  This was virtually unprecedented in world history, and helped set the stage for one of the most remarkable aspects of American democracy: the peaceful transition of government after elections.  We may take this for granted and not realize the enormous importance of this legacy of our first President. 

Some wanted to make him our king.
He declined, said “I’ll do no such thing.”
There’s been too much oppression.
My term’s just a session.
To the world a new order let’s bring.

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