December 4 - 1783 - George Washington Bids Farewell to His Officers
In 1783, George Washington was the popular head of a large army. Throughout history, this had usually meant that George Washington could have had whatever power he wanted. Instead, he told his officers goodbye, dissolved his army, and went back to his plantation Mount Vernon in Virginia. It was a truly astonishing act which allowed America to become a stable republic, a very rare thing in the world. George Washington made himself unlike Julius Caesar or Oliver Cromwell, but instead like the Ancient Roman icon Cincinattus, who had renounced absolute authority to retrun to his plough. Nothing says more about how important Washington's act was than that people had to stretch back more than 2,000 years for a comparison.