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George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army following the official end of the Revolution.
|Recurring Event (See all)
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 23 of December, repeating indefinitely
On this day in 1783, George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army following the official end of the Revolution.
The moment was a testament to Washington’s hopes for a new self-governing republic. During the course of the war, Congress had given Washington such powers that, were he a lesser man, could have easily been segued into a dictatorship. In fact, some political factions wanted Washington to become king.
His resignation speech to Congress was emotional and the general’s voice wavered. He concluded with a bow: “Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theatre of action, and bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.”
Did you know? The event made such an impact that King George III was reported to say, “If [Washington] does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”
Washington Resigning His Commission, Edwin White, 1859