“Friends and Fellow-Citizens:
The period for a new election of a Citizen, to administer the Executive Government of the Executive Government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprize you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those, out of whom a choice is to be made.”
— George Washington, in his Farewell Address, 1796
George Washington stepping down from office after his 2nd term may have been the single greatest act of leadership in favour of humanity, and over tyranny, in all of human history. Throughout his time in power he’d been given ample opportunity to become the American Napoleon — he chose, instead, to entrust his country to its people.
In the words of his old rival, King George III, upon hearing that Washington might step down:
“If he does that, he’ll be the greatest man in the world.”
While that designation is too broad to have meaning, the category of greatest humans would certainly include George Washington.
Now go lift something heavy,