Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the proper objects which is always a choice of difficultiesought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.
We are authorized to hope that a proper organization of the whole with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment.
It is substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government.
These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the Union as a primary object of patriotic desire.
Let it simply be asked: The inhabitants of our Western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in George washington farewell speech to the Mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them everything they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity.
The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes.
The considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. 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.
The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives.
The impressions with which I first undertook the arduous trust were explained on the proper occasion. Washington agreed with him, though he said it was too long.
Washington most likely referred to this when he told the American people that he had wanted to retire before the last election, but was convinced by people "entitled to my confidence" that it was his duty to serve a second term. But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest.
Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest Guardian.
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my Administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors.
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. For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.
I rejoice that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty or propriety, and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.
This within certain limits is probably true and in governments of a monarchical cast patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course.
As he explained, "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 distinctions.
In all the changes to which you may be invited remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember especially that for the efficient management of your common interests in a country so extensive as ours a Government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable.
The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.
But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.
Washington wraps up his foreign policy stance by advocating free trade with all nations, arguing that trade links should be established naturally and the role of the government should be limited to ensuring stable trade, defending the rights of American merchantsand any provisions necessary to ensure the conventional rules of trade.
The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. In the execution of such a plan nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations and passionate attachments for others should be excluded, and that in place of them just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated.
I will only observe that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.
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. Washington goes on to warn the American people to question the ulterior motives of any person or group who argue that the land within the borders of the United States is too large to be ruled as a republic, an argument made by many during the debate on the proposed purchase of the Louisiana Territorycalling on the people to give the experiment of a large republic a chance to work before deciding that it cannot be done.
As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead; amidst appearances sometimes dubious; vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging; in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected.In earlyPresident George Washington decided not to seek reelection for a third term and began drafting this farewell address to the American people.
The address went through numerous drafts, in large part due to suggestions made by Alexander Hamilton. of political foes, George Washington announced his decision not to seek a third term. With the assistance of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Washington composed in a “Farewell Address” his political testament to the nation.
Designed to inspire and guide future genera- WASHINGTON’S FAREWELL ADDRESS . Washington's Farewell Address to the Nation appears in its entirety in this issue of the Independent Chronicle. Although it is by all accounts the most famous and best-known of Washington's speeches, it was never actually delivered orally by George Washington.
Paltsits, Victor Hugo, ed. Washington’s Farewell Address in Facsimile, with Transliterations of all the Drafts of Washington, Madison, & Hamilton; Together with Their Correspondence and Other Supporting Documents.
New York: The New York Public Library, WallBuilders is an organization dedicated to presenting America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built – a foundation which, in recent years, has been seriously attacked and undermined.
In earlyPresident George Washington decided not to seek reelection for a third term and began drafting this farewell address to the American people.
The address went through numerous drafts, in large part due to suggestions made by Alexander Hamilton.Download