As president, what precedent did Washington set?


Quick Answer

One of the most lauded precedents set by George Washington's presidency is his decision to choose the title of president of the United States. Washington instilled the idea that the president is an executive, not a monarch. Washington also avoided becoming dictatorial with his executive powers.

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Full Answer

As the first chief executive of the United States, George Washington set the model for all future presidents. Washington selected his cabinet without interference from the legislative branch, which remains the standard practice. And while he was given veto powers, Washington used restraint in vetoing legislation. He made proposals to the legislative branch, but avoided using his power to unduly influence congress or the judiciary. Washington also set the precedent that the vice presidency is largely a ceremonial role. On the issue of collecting excise taxes from states, Washington sided with Alexander Hamilton. Thus, the federal government was able to collect taxes to pay for war debt accrued by individual states.

Washington was the first to appoint leaders from different parties to his cabinet. Hamilton was a staunch federalist, while Thomas Jefferson was anti-federalist. Washington set the standard for how a president conducts daily business and social life. Days were devoted to administrative tasks and evenings to social events. Washington was also the first to serve two consecutive presidential terms, before retiring to private life.

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