He was a virtuoso of resignations. He perfected the art of getting power by giving it away. He tried this first, unsuccessfully, as a young colonel of militia - but then only as a gesture from hurt pride. He was still learning that mere power to refuse is real, but limited. The power would later be refined, as would the gestures - when he learned the creative power of surrender.
-Garry Wills, Cincinnatus: George Washington & The Enlightenment: Images of Power in Early America