What is the lasting impact of George Washington?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The lasting impact of George Washington is that he legitimized the United States presidency and set precedents that remain today, such as the presidential veto and two-term limit (which later became law). He rejected the idea of a monarchy in favor of a democratic republic.

Within the executive branch of the newly formed government, Washington created the cabinet and many of its appointments, such as the secretaries of the treasury and state. 

Washington believed that the United States military must serve the citizenry as opposed to the military dominating the citizenry and establishing martial law. 


Washington's desire to establish and define a democratic republic far outweighed his personal ambitions to amass power. He was more interested in establishing a country that created federal authority, produced educated citizens, expanded commerce and transportation, and had a consolidated national identity despite its immense size.  



pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

George Washington's most important lasting impact came from the fact that he walked away from the Presidency after two terms in office.  This made it possible for the United States to be what it is today.

In many new countries, popular leaders like Washington stay on as long as possible.  They make themselves into dictators and suppress political opposition.  A good example of this is Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe today.  Washington could easily have become like this because he was so popular.

Instead, Washington stepped down from office and set a precedent.  He established the idea that the US really would be a nation of laws and not a country where leaders would hold on to power until they were forced to step down.  Because of this, the US has enjoyed a stable and democratic government ever since.