Washington’s Farewell Address Analysis

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Washington’s Farewell Address Analysis

The “Washington’s Farewell Address, first published on September 19, 1796, in the Philadelphia Daily American Advertiser, focused on bidding farewell to the people of the United States. President Washington urged Americans to preserve the Union and put America first. Most importantly, he advised Americans to uphold the Constitution and support trade among the States.

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Washington urged the Americans to preserve the Union. He highlighted the benefits of the Union, which include, real independence, peace and safety, and prosperity of the individuals and the nation. Washington said, “…. It is justly so; for  it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad, of your safety, of your prosperity, of that very liberty which you so highly prize. (6). The statement means the Americans should stay together to get real independence, have peace and safety at home. 

When the Union was threatened by the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln stayed firm for the preservation of the Union. He echoed the desire of President Washington for the preservation of the Union when he said, in his, “A House Divided” speech, that a house divided cannot stand. Consequently, Lincoln helped to preserve the Union that was on the brink of separation.

Washington stated that Americans should put America first by upholding the Constitution and maintaining patriotism.  He said, “The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. (7). 

Washington urged the Americans to remain patriotic to the nation and uphold the Constitution. Also, Washington talked about the duty of the citizens to obey the government. He said, “The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government (13). Through upholding the Constitution, Washington anticipated the citizens to obey the government.

Washington urged Americans to support domestic trade.

Washington urged Americans to support domestic trade. He said, “The South in the same intercourse, benefitting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand…. the West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort (8). Washington anticipated that the North and the South would be at loggerheads with each other because of the differences in economic activities, and urged them to trade with each other.

By the time Washington was leaving the office, the North was thriving on commercial activities while the South specialized in plantation farming. Washington called upon the States to trade with each other to enhance economic growth and development.

Washington’s farewell address focussed on advising the Americans to preserve the Union, uphold the Constitution and support trade within the borders. Washington was elected without a political party, but backed the Federalist Party after assuming the office of the President. Therefore, Washington could not have had much experience about political parties as in the contemporary America.

All in all, Washington set American on a strong political and economic foundation that has seen America become the beacon of freedom, strong military, a democratic government and respect to the rule of law. The U.S enjoys unity and prosperity because of Washington’s firm stance on preservation of the Union. Washington’s ideas continue to live on to the present day because of the previous presidents’, such as Abraham Lincoln, resolution to stand firm and preserve the Union. 

Reference

Washington, G. (1796). Washington’s Farewell Address to the People of the United States.

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