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George Washington’s Farewell Address
George Washington was a pillar among men. He exemplified what it meant to be an American. He was a Patriot chosen by the people, and urged to continue his role as President into a third term. Washington had different plans, As a matter of fact, he didn’t even plan on serving a second term; but as duty would call, he served his country yet again.
This farewell address originally was slated to mark the end of his first term, but it was set aside when he decided to serve his second term. At the approach of the end of his final term, he would revisit this address with the assistance of James Madison.
In this thirty two page handwritten address, Washington touched on a few topics he felt were necessary for the American people to focus their attention to.
There had began to be a lot of politics at the time, and with the start of a two party system, Washington wanted to warn the people about the idea. He was opposed to it. He didn’t want to see division among the people. Unity was, and is, what binds the people together.
On the Constitution, Washington felt extremely strong about. It was a single document that constrained the powers of the government. It served as protection for the people. It was the check and balance that would regulate the powers and laws placed on the people. He went on to warn that political divisions would be too much of a distraction for the government.
Another thing that Washington was concerned about was federal spending. He felt very strong about the idea of a balanced budget, adding that unnecessary borrowing would place a financial burden on the people.
One of the most referenced topics of his farewell address, is on religion. George Washington was a faithful man. He was often observed in prayer. Nobody can sum it up better than the way Washington said it himself:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
Upon the closing remarks, Washington wished to make a few remarks on what he saw as his failures. Having served America and it’s people for so many years, Washington wanted the people to know that he made some mistakes. He was a humble man, who stood tall among the ranks of men.