It was the original hope of Congress that President George Washington would serve merely as a powerless figurehead while in office – “a Commander and Chief of no one and nothing,” according to veteran author and historian Harlow Giles Unger.
“The Senate had all the power and they wanted to keep control,” Unger said.
It seems they didn’t know who they were dealing with.
Instead of sitting back and accepting their terms, Washington ignored Congress and did exactly what he took an oath to do: “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.”
Listen to hear more about Washington, along with a detailed account of the first government shutdown.