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The Farewell Address of President George Washington

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The farewell address of President George Washington

GOVT 200 - S02

February 25, 2013

President George Washington's Farewell Address

As the end of President George Washington's second term approached he had already decided not to seek a third term, and with the assistance of his friend and Treasury Secretary, he composed his farewell address to congress and the American people. President Washington's farewell address presented the American people with the benefit of his wisdom, and his best advice for the future of this country. The address, was published on Sept. 19, 1796 by the American Daily Advertiser which at the time was a major news publication in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania reflected President Washington's personal experience in both war, and peace has since become a point of reference with respect to the identity, and the foreign policy of the United States (U.S)

The first two paragraphs of the address are dedicated to informing Americans that it was President Washington's desire not to seek or accept consideration for the office of president again. The president went on to explain how he wanted to retire in 1783 after the Revolutionary war had ended but felt, at that time, that he was still needed. The president went on to express his gratitude for the privilege of serving the nation, and assured the people that he would continue to care about future of the United States (Washington, G, 1796).

It is important to note that President Washington's decision not to seek a third term was a precedent followed by all subsequent presidents until President Franklin Roosevelt who became the only U.S. President to be elected to a third and fourth term (, 2013). In 1951 the constitution was amended, by the twenty-second amendment, to include a provision that a president could only serve two (2) four (4) year terms (, 2013).

I believe that the single most important advice that President Washington had to give to the American people and the political leadership of the day was that our elected representatives should put aside any differences they may have for the welfare of United States. In his Farwell address it is clear that President Washington was, for the most part, opposed to the various political factions and parties. He had a firm belief that we should all work together, and that this unity would assist us in preserving the United States as a nation while enhancing the lives of ordinary Americans.

History has shown us that despite President Washington's feelings concerning these factions, and political parties it is through their existence that we are allowed to hear different opinions, and ideas that allow us to make the wise decisions that are needed to enhance our lives and modify our social, political and economic system. It is through this political diversity that wise decisions have been, and are being made. President Washington emphasized the need for a strong and a unified government, a government where state loyalties were second to our national identity as Americans.

President Washington's advice concerning any U.S. involvement, and participation in foreign wars was also addressed in his farewell. The President encouraged Americans not to become involved in these conflicts but rather to continue building the United States as a strong and independent nation. President Washington stressed the importance that we, as Americans, "observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all" (Washington, G, 1796), and he went on to say that our young nation should not show a preference to any particular nations. The President seemed to believe that showing favoritism to one nation over another nation could "... serve to veil and even second



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