Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus is a legendary figure in Roman history, a model of Roman virtue and simplicity. Having been twice granted dictatorial power by the Roman Senate in emergencies, he retained it not a day longer than absolutely necessary to deal with the emergency, and then returned to his farm and his plow.
Cincinnatus had been an army commander and Roman consul, but after his term was over he returned to his 4 acre farm in Italy.
While he was there, the Aequians, who were enemies of Rome, attacked and trapped the Roman army. In desperation. the Roman Senate appointed Cincinnatus as dictator to deal with the emergency.
A group of Senators were sent to Cincinnatus' farm, where they found him plowing his field. On knowing of his appointment, he immediately set aside his plow, left for Rome, took command of the army, and in 15 days defeated the enemy. The very next day after the battle he resigned his command and his dictatorial powers, and went back to his small farm and his plow.
Cincinnatus was again appointed dictator to suppress a conspiracy, but having done so immediately resigned and again retired to his farm.
Cincinnatus became a symbol of patriotism, simplicity, self sacrifice and refusal to misuse office.
George Washington, the first President of U.S.A. is known as the American Cincinnatus. He was an army officer who had retired to his farm on Mount Vernon, but when the American War of Independence broke out in 1775 the Continental Congress which met in Philadelphia appointed him Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, with immense powers. When the war was over after the defeat of the British at Yorktown ( 1781 ), some people expected that Washington would be declared King of the new country. But Washington refused.
. . He went to Congress, took out his sword ( which was a symbol of his command ) and laid it before Congress. He then sought and obtained permission from Congress to resign his commission, and then retired to his farm at Mount Vernon