President of the United States Essay

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George Washington Farewell Address Research Paper


George Washington’s Farewell Address is one of the most remarkable speeches in US history even though it was not given orally but written. It was written to his “Friends, and Fellow-Citizens” of the United States informing them that he would not be running for re-election. He expressed the importance of maintaining independence, tranquility, peace, safety, prosperity religion and liberty. He was concerned about the Union being threatened by a rise of political parties attempting to undermine the Constitution's separation of powers and foreign policy at the expense of America's best interests. This “open letter” from the President played a unique role in the shaping of America.

In 1796 George Washington, during the end of his second term, prepared an “open letter” announcing his retirement revealing his thoughts about the Union longevity and durability of America. Much of the Farewell Address was his own personal opinions and political observations about the nation he loved. President Washington wanted remind the nation that even though we a unified it’s not always going to be easy to remain that way. Outside influence will try to divide and conquer and we must make remain diligent to protect our freedom.

One other key point in the Farewell Address the warning of foreign threats to the Union. In 1796, he writes that “the invidious wiles of foreign influence," meaning we must remain neutral to not attain "permanent alliances." He felt that having a permanent alliance can divide a nation and possibly have foreign countries violating and undermining our own policies. Washington also instruct Americans to avoid friendly or rival relations with others countries. Remaining neutral can help America avoid costly wars and slipping into alliances with others countries and if need be an alliance should utilize temporary. He argued that American foreign policy should be fair but also coincide with America's best interest. He warned that having permanent alliances often lead to poor relations with nations who feel that they are not being treated as well as America's allies, and threaten to influence the American government into making bad decisions based upon the will of their allies and not the will of the American people. Washington also advocated free trade with all nations arguing that trade links should be established and the role of the government should be limited to insuring steady trade and any provisions necessary to insure that the government is able to insure the conventional rules of trade.

Next key factor in the Farewell Address, he advised the leaders of the nation against the harmful effects of political parties and country as a whole. He writes, “The alternate domination of one faction over another sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetuated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.” President Washington understands that it is natural for people to find acceptance and gravitate towards groups like political parties, but argues that every government has recognized political parties as an enemy and has sought to repress them because of their tendency to seek more power than other groups and take revenge on political opponents leading “to horrible atrocities and will ultimately end in despotism as people throw their support behind the most powerful faction and the faction focuses on increasing their own power instead of promoting the public liberty.” He also acknowledges that political parties are sometimes beneficial but argues that political parties must be restrained in a popularly elected government because of it creates jealousy amongst groups and regions, raise false alarms amongst the people, promote riots and insurrection. His thinks that the constitutional