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One of the most consequential days in American history occurred on March 4, 1797. George Washington, who had declined to run for a third term as President, voluntarily vacated his office. John Adams then took the Oath of Office and became the second President of the United States.

That day established a peaceful transfer of power that separated the United States from numerous countries around the world. The President was not a king and the United States wasn't a monarchy.

To this day, America relies on the occupant of the White House to accept the democratic process on which the country was founded and vacate the office on inauguration day to make way for the people's choice.

Now, President Donald Trump's recent comments during a White House press briefing has some thinking that peaceful transfer might be in danger.

After reports of an effort on the Trump campaign's part to pressure Republican-dominated swing state congresses to appoint electors loyal to Donald Trump, concerns grew that the Trump campaign would be relying on smearing the legitimacy of the election to secure another four years in power.

When asked if he'd commit to a peaceful transfer of power, Trump's answer left a lot to be desired.

Watch below.

The President responded:

"We're going to have to see what happens."

Americans across the country were alarmed that Trump wouldn't commit to the ritual that's kept American democracy running for centuries.

Now, presidential historian and Trump critic Michael Beschloss is highlighting the longevity of that ritual with photos and stories of past Presidents transferring their power.

The result shows just how storied the process is, and what we stand to lose if Trump doesn't honor it.





The stories echoed with a level of decency that critics were certain Trump could never ascend to.





Twitter users continue to emphasize the importance of this transfer.