Washington's Farewell Address
Published September 26, 1796
Directions: Read the text below and answer the questions that follow in your notebook using complete sentences.
In his Address Washington announces his planned withdrawal from politics "after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its (America's) service." He then sets forth his reasons against running for a third term. As if to bolster his argument, he states: "While choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it."
Farewell Address To the People of the United States
In his address Washington:
***Warns against the party system. "It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble [weaken] the Public Administration....agitates [stirs up] the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles [creates] the animosity [hatred] 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."
***Stresses the importance of religion and morality. "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?"
***On stable public credit. "...cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly [little] as possible...avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt....it is essential that you...bear in mind, that towards the payments of debts there must be Revenue, that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not...inconvenient and unpleasant..."
***Warns against permanent foreign alliances. "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world..."
***On an over-powerful military establishment. "...avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty."
In saying farewell to the new nation he helped create Washington pointed out that ".......the name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism..."
1. How many years had Washington spent in service
to his country?
2. How many terms had Washington served as president?
3. Why does Washington warn against the party system?
4. What does Washington stress the importance of?
5. How does Washington say to use credit?
6. What does Washington warn against?
7. What does Washington say should not be too powerful?
8. What does Washington want Americans to be proud of?
9. Based on what you know about the country today and what Washington wrote in his Farewell Address, do you think Washington would be happy with America if he was alive today? Site examples from his Farewell Address in your answer.