In 1789, much of America recognized the need for presidential authority and energetic leadership despite the ever-present alarm over the potentially abusive power or weak corruptibility of the office. Nothing signaled these apprehensions over the presidency more than the unanimous election of universally trusted George Washington as the new nation’s first president. To his credit, Washington understood this. Although his celebrity encouraged an elite court-like atmosphere wherever he went, Washington counteracted these tendencies early on with his opposition to a regal title. During the title controversy, he brought to his leadership both a widely admired perspective of republican reserve and a willingness to take cues from the people. By consciously mirroring the views of the majority of his countrymen and women, who disdained regal titles as he did, he encouraged public acceptance of the presidency, which added political legitimacy to the office and the new national government.