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Ideals and Principals in George Washington's Farewell Address

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Submitted By breezy2327
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Abstract
Though some of the greatest political minds of the time, including Alexander Hamilton and John Jay assisted in the effort, the final draft was Washington’s. Without question the address portrayed his ideals and principals.
1) The Benefits of Unity
Washington encourages the American people to stay united “That your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual” His desire was for them to protect the sanctity of the Constitution, and to insure that it is administered with wisdom and virtue. He addresses the unity of government with the people. Washington states that unity is what will hold America together and in fact is the very foundation that supports it. "The unity of government...is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence...of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize." The American people should never take for granted the “Collective and individual happiness” and they should watch for, and take every measure at their disposal to protect these liberties from threats both from within, and outside the United States. Washington encouraged a strong infrastructure for the Union “Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole” Washington foresaw the importance of a common government and unified laws, that would encourage commercial enterprise and trade between the different geographical areas of the country. The North had manufacturing and the capacity and resources to move goods by water. The South in return had agricultural products to sell or trade for needed industrial products. Washington did not leave out the importance of
Ideals and Principals in George Washington’s Farewell Address 2

expansion to the West. “Nourish and increase the general mass, of the national navigation…in the progressive importance of interior communications by land and water” Washington was encouraging trading between all regions, self dependency as a nation, not relying on foreign powers.
2) Avoiding a Party System of Government
Washington educated the people to the danger of “characterizing parties by geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; …whence designing men may endeavor to excite a belief that there is a real difference of local interests and views.” When an individual or group attempts to divide government along certain party lines, “They tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.” He used as an example the treaty with Spain. He pointed out how the concerns and suspensions raised about “A policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the Mississippi… if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren and connect them with aliens?” The constitution and the freedoms that came with it, is not the work of divided parties, it is the work of unified individuals who had the common good of all people in mind. A constitution that was binding enough to hold this great country together “But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all.” American government, whether on the state or federal level is by the people, for the people. Washington had seen firsthand the results of a party system of government, and he knew it would be the fall of everything they had worked for. "It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration....agitates the Community
Ideals and Principals in George Washington’s Farewell Address 3

with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one....against another....it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption...thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another."
3) Religion and Morality.
Washington saw religion and morality as a corner stone to political prosperity. “Religion and Morality are indispensable supports…. subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.” These qualities are to be respected and cherished by all citizens, but especially by those in government. Religion and morality go hand in hand. “ Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths…. let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.” The idea that we can have a moral and just system of government without religion was not one Washington embraced. “Reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
He believed that these qualities should also be taught in our schools “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…. Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge.” Washington and those who helped construct this address were men of honesty, dignity, and patriotism. Their believes and views were the foundation of our country, and they wanted to insure that it survived.…...

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