Untitled Document

Washington's Farewell Address

Table of Contents

Writing of the Address
The American Union
Partisanship and Foreign Policy


George Washington's Farewell Address was the last of the major documents by America's Founders to be written in the 18th Century. Unlike earlier major Founding Documents - the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, the Federalist Papers and the Bill of Rights - the Farewell Address was a lengthy production that began four years before it was released. Its origin dated to 1792 when President Washington had contemplated retirement after one term but his feuding advisers convinced him to remain in office even as they themselves contemplated leaving. In May 1792, Washington wrote fellow Virginian James Madison of his anticipated retirement: "In revolving this subject myself my judgment has always been embarrassed. On the one hand, a previous declaration to retire, not only carries with it the appearance of vanity and self-importance, but it may be construed into a manoeuvre to be invited to remain; and, on the other hand, to say nothing, implies consent, or, at any rate, would leave the matter in doubt; and to decline afterwards might be deemed as bad and uncandid." Washington wrote: "As the recess [of Congress] may afford you leisure, and, I flatter myself, you have dispositions to oblige me, I will, without apology, desire, if the measure in itself should strike you as proper, or likely to produce public good, or private honor, that you would turn your thoughts to a valedictory address from me to the public, expressing in plain and honest terms my leave of them as a public man: and I take the liberty at my departure from civil life, as I formerly did at my military exit, to invoke a continuance of the blessings of Providence upon it."

A month later, Congressman Madison responded to President Washington, saying that he would write the draft. He urged, however, that Washington "reconsider all the circumstances and consequences" around the proposed retirement. Madison suggested that Washington postpone any announcement until mid-September. The draft that Madison produced, noted historian George S. Mott, was more personal than political.1 Focusing more on Washington's future than the nation's, Madison began:

The circumstances which will close the appointment with which my fellow-citizens have honored me, being not very distant, and the time actually arrived at which their thoughts must be designating the citizen who is to administer the executive government of the United States during the ensuing term, it may be requisite to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should apprise such of my fellow-citizens as may retain their partiality towards me, that I am not to be numbered among those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg them to be assured that the resolution, which dictates this intimation, has not been taken without the strictest regard to the relation which, as a dutiful citizen, I bear to my country; and that, in withdrawing that tender of my service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am not influenced by the smallest deficiency of zeal for its future interests, or of grateful respect for its past kindness; but by the fullest persuasion that such a step is compatible with both. The impressions, under which I entered on the present arduous trust, were explained on the proper occasion. In discharge of this trust, I can only say, that I contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. For any errors, which may have flowed from this source, I feel all the regret which an anxiety for the public good can excite; not without the double consolation, however, arising from a consciousness of their being involuntary, and an experience of the candor which will interpret them. If there were any circumstances which could give value to my inferior qualifications for the trust, these circumstances must have been temporary. In this light was the undertaking viewed when I ventured upon it. Being, moreover, still further advanced in the decline of life, I am every day more sensible, that the increasing weight of years renders the private walks of it, in the shade of retirement, as necessary as they will be acceptable to me.2
Washington was ever careful about what appropriate and prudent. Four years later in 1796 after a second term in office, Washington was no longer open to discussion about leaving office. Although the president showed his Farewell Address to his cabinet on September 15, 1796 just before it was released, it was a pro forma consultation. Washington had both personal and political reasons for his retirement. He was determined to return home to Virginia, to get out of government, and to get out of politics. Historian Roland G. Usher wrote that Washington had "been so abused and vilified in the public press for several years, his character so aspersed, his motives so invariably questioned and misunderstood, that his modest and retiring nature shrank from announcing that he would not be a candidate for fear that his enemies would promptly impute to him vanity and conceit."3 Still, he wanted to go home. Historian John C. Miller wrote: "Sick of politics, wounded by the envenomed shafts of Republican journalists, and eager to sit down with dinner with Martha alone - a pleasure, he said, he had not enjoyed for twenty years - the President was determined to retire from the splendid misery of the Presidency to the peace and quiet of Mount Vernon."4 Washington was also determined to establish a precedent for the democratic transfer of executive power. He wanted to give a lesson in democratic conduct through both word and deed.

There would be debate only about the words Washington would use and that had taken place over the summer. "The first President left no room for debate whether he really meant to resign, " wrote historian Garry Wills. "To do so, he devised a novel form of communication, speaking not to the people's representatives in his normal way, but to the people themselves, with an immediacy that foreshadowed the 'fireside chats' of radio and television days."5 Washington knew the power of public documents. Although uncertain of his own literary talents, he knew what he wanted to say. As the hero of the American revolution, Washington was already the preeminent symbol of national unity. He intended his farewell address to strengthen that unity.

In his farewell Washington sought to make both political and personal points about the nation he loved. "The kind of father Washington sought to be was the father who, when his children become adults, lets them go," wrote biographer Richard Brookhiser. "Washington stepped aside, not, as [Thomas] Paine believed, because all fathers do, but because he chose to. He was conscious of the momentousness of the choice. The United States should not be left to prove, he wrote Lafayette in 1788, that 'Mankind [was] made for a Master.'"6 Garry Wills wrote that the "ideal of surrendering power to establish it is obviously close to the role Washington had forged for himself."7 It was a role that Americans already identified with Cincinnatus, the Roman general who left his farm to save his country and then returned to it when his military mission was completed. Having relinquished power once before in December 1783 when he surrendered his military commission to Congress, Washington had established his own precedent - and Washington was ever alert to the precedents he was setting for America's experiment in democracy. Historian James Thomas Flexner wrote that a democratic transition at the ballot box "would be the culmination of his own career, his final gift to the world."8 Historian Gordon S. Wood wrote that Washington intended "an object lesson in republicanism at a time when the republican experiment throughout the Atlantic world was very much in doubt." Wood wrote: "Most people assumed that Washington might be president as long as he lived. Hence his persistent efforts to retire from the presidency enhanced his moral authority and helped fix the republican character of the Constitution." Washington was ever conscious of his public image and he wanted to leave public life in a way that enhanced his moral stature at the same he advanced America's example to the world.9

Although the document had long been under consideration, it was delivered to the public in an abrupt fashion. "Address to the People of the United was this day published in Claypoole's paper notifying my intention of declining being considered a Candidate for the President of the United States," wrote President George Washington in his diary on September 19, 1796. "Left the City this morning on my way to Mount Vernon."10 Washington's Farewell Address was printed in the Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser that morning but the President didn't stick around to hear any reactions. He had told Vice President John Adams and Chief Justice John Jay of his intentions that spring, but refrained from public discussion of his intended retirement. Instead in May, Washington asked former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to work on a draft public letter. The document was set in type by printer David C. Claypoole that weekend and proofed by the president. The rest Washington literally left to history.

Writing of the Address

The final draft of Washington's Farewell had been under consideration since February "The paper of Madison and his own memoranda had lain before Washington during those four eventful years, and we may presume that from time to time, he had noted thoughts which might be appropriate for this Farewell when he should send it forth," wrote George S. Mott. "It seems to have been his original intention to retain the substance and form of Madison's draft, and to make such an addition as events and circumstances required, because dangers which lurked on the horizon had developed and assumed a perplexing and threatening aspect during his second administration."11

In place of ghostwriter Madison, with whom Washington had become politically estranged, it was natural for Washington to turn to former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who had composed many documents for him as his chief aide in the early years of the American Revolution and had become known for the speed and felicity of his pen. "As one of the nation's most productive writers, he repeatedly acceded when President asked him to write his speeches," wrote Hamilton biographer Willard Sterne Randall. Hamilton - in state papers and letters - was also one of the prolific writers among the founders. Washington repeatedly had turned to him for advice and counsel - even after Hamilton left office as secretary of the Treasury in January 1795. Washington again turned to him for advice on his "Farewell Address" in February 1796 when Hamilton came to Philadelphia to plead a case being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The choice was natural. Although Hamilton was the draftsman of the document; Washington remained the architect. Historian James Thomas Flexner wrote: "No man was more familiar than Hamilton with Washington's sentiments, and long experience had taught him that Washington would not knowingly allow himself to be pushed. The way to influence him was to put forward ideas in a manner that made them seem an extension of his own thinking. Had Hamilton drafted the address according to his own thinking, Washington would have simply laid it aside. The experienced aide only inserted sentiments with which Washington might not agree if he thought he could do it so inconspicuously that the President would not notice. Almost all of them came out." Flexner wrote: "Thus the Farewell Address was as much Washington's as any Presidential paper is likely to be that has been drafted by an intimate aide."12

Washington himself prepared a first draft, noted biographer Harrison Clark: "In preparing his outline the president wrote out his introductory paragraphs, added a rewrite of the Madison draft, and then introduced his major points. It was probably this outline which he showed to Hamilton and from which he expected to write his final paper. Subsequently he added to it his own draft of an address."13 Hamilton was given Madison's 1792 draft, which ultimately would prove inadequate to the new occasion. Relations with France and Britain along with differences regarding economic policy had split American leaders into two groups: (1) those who supported Hamilton's economic policies and friendship with Britain; and (2) those who opposed Hamilton's economic policies and supported friendship with France. The latter camp's leaders were Madison and Jefferson. Because Washington's Farewell was drafted by Hamilton, it inevitably took on the tone of an apologia for policies that Washington and Hamilton formulated over the determined opposition of Jeffersonians.

Hamilton himself was probably the nation's foremost advocate of a strong executive and the kind of leadership that Washington provided. Jefferson scholar Susan Dunn noted, for example, that "Hamilton had, for a decade, objected to term limits for the president. In Federalist No. 72, he had rejected the idea of depriving the president of the chance to serve another four years in office. Term limits for the chief executive, Hamilton forcefully argued, would diminish inducements to good behavior, discourage the president from undertaking new projects, deny the community the advantage of his experience, and preclude political stability. Finally, Hamilton contended, term limits would ignore certain emergency situations when the president's continuance in office would be 'of the great moment to the public interest or safety.'" Dunn wrote that "in the summer of 1796, he convinced Washington to wait until the fall to announce his retirement. 'Hold the thing undecided to the last moment," he counseled. 'If a storm gathers, how can you retreat?'"14

In preparing new drafts for Washington's consideration, Hamilton did not work quickly. On May 10, Hamilton wrote Washington: "When last in Philadelphia, you mentioned to me your wish that I should re-dress a certain paper which you had prepared. As it is important that a thing of this kind should be done with great care and much at leisure, touched and retouched, I submit a wish that, as soon as you have give it the body you mean it to have, it may be sent to me."15 Washington was accommodating but custodial of his address. Five days later, Washington replied: "If you should think it best to throw the whole into a different form, let me request, notwithstanding, that my draft may be returned to me (along with yours) with such amendments and corrections as to render it as perfect as the formation is susceptible of; curtailed if too verbose, and relieved of all tautology not necessary to enforce the ideas in the original or quoted part. My wish is, that the whole may appear in a plain style; and be handed to the public in an honest, unaffected, simple garb."16 Historian François Furstenberg wrote that Washington's "draft: was in many respects a product of the criticism Washington had received in his second term. His remarks were largely defensive in tone, occasionally verging on self-pity."17

On May 15 Washington wrote to his new ghost writer, Alexander Hamilton: "On this day week, I wrote you a letter on the subject of the information received from G[ouverneur] M[orris], and put it with some other papers respecting the case of Mr. de La Fayette under cover to Mr. [John] Jay; to whom also I had occasion to write. But in my hurry (making up the despatches for the post office next morning,) I forgot to give it a superscription; of course it had to return from New York for one, and to encounter all the delay occasioned thereby before it could reach your hands. Since then I have been favored with your letter of the 10th inst.; and enclose (in its rough state) the paper mentioned therein, with some alternate on in the first page (since you saw it) relative to the reference at foot. Having no copy by me, (except of the quoted part.) nor the notes from which it was drawn, I beg leave to recommend the draught now sent, to your particular attention."
Even, if you should think it best to throw the whole into a different form, let me request, notwithstanding, that my draught may be returned to me (along with yours) with such amendments and corrections, as to render it as perfect as the formation is susceptible of; curtailed, if too verbose; and relieved of all tautology, not necessary to enforce the ideas in the original or quoted part. My wish is. that the whole may appear in a plain style; and be handed to the public in an honest, unaffected, simple garb.

It will be perceived from hence, that I am attached to the quotation. My reasons for it are, that as it is not only a fact that such an address was written, and on the point of being published, but known also to one or two of those characters who are now strongest and foremost in the opposition to the Government, and consequently to the person administering of it contrary to their views;-the promulgation thereof, as an evidence that it was much against my inclination that I continued in office, will cause it more readily to be believed, that I could have no view in extending the powers of the Executive beyond the limits prescribed by the Constitution, and will serve to lessen in the public estimation the pretensions of that party to the patriotic zeal and watchfulness, on which they endeavor to build their own consequence at the expense of others, who have differed from them in sentiment. And besides, it may contribute to blunt, if it does not turn aside, some of the shafts, which, it may be presumed, will be aimed at my annunciation of this event;-among which, conviction of fallen popularity and despair of being re-elected, will be levelled at me with dexterity and keenness....

My object has been and must continue to be, to avoid personalities; allusions to particular measures, which may appear pointed-and expressions which could not fail to draw upon me attacks which I should wish to avoid, and might not find agreeable to repel.

As there will be another Session of Congress before the political existence of the present House of Representatives or my own will constitutionally expire, it was not my design to say a word to the Legislature on this subject; but to withhold the promulgation of my intention until the period, when it shall become indispensably necessary for the information of the Electors, previous to the Election, (which, this year, will be delayed until the 7th of December). This makes it a little difficult and uncertain what to say, so long beforehand, on the part marked with a pencil in the last paragraph of the 2d page.

All these ideas and observations are confined, as you will readily perceive to my draft of the valedictory address. If you form one anew, it will, of course, assume such a shape as you may be disposed to give it, predicated upon the sentiments contained in the enclosed paper.18
The congressional session that spring had been difficult as the House of Representatives challenged the President's leadership of foreign policy. The House came close to rejecting funding of the controversial Jay Treaty that had been approved by the Senate in June 1995. The controversy over relations with Britain had more seriously damaged Washington's reputation than any previous event. Washington deeply rejected such criticism and the attempt to restrict the president's authority regarding foreign policy. Elected to two terms without electoral opposition, Washington was tired of growing attacks against him from pro-Jefferson newspapers. On June 26, 1796, President Washington wrote Hamilton: "Having from a variety of reasons (among which a disinclination to be longer buffeted in the public prints by a set of infamous scribblers) taken my ultimate determination to seek the post of honor in a private station, I regret exceedingly, that I did not publish my valedictory address the day after the adjournment of Congress. This would have preceded the canvassing for electors (which is commencing with warmth in this State). It would have been announcing publicly what seems to be very well understood and is industriously propagated privately." Washington explained:
It would have removed doubts from the minds of all, and left the field clear for all. It would, by having preceded any unfavorable change in our foreign relations, (if any should happen,) render my retreat less difficult and embarrassing. And it might have prevented the remarks, which, more than probable, will follow a late annunciation - namely, that I delayed it long enough to see that the current was turned against me, before I declared my intention to decline. This is one of the reasons which makes me a little tenacious of the draft I furnished you with, to be modified and corrected." Having passed, however, what I now conceive would have been the precise moment to have addressed my constituents, let me ask your opinion (under a full conviction that nothing will shake my determination to withdraw) of the next best time, considering the present, and what may probably, be the existing state of things at different periods previous to the election; or rather the middle of October, beyond which the promulgation of my intentions cannot be delayed. Let me hear from you as soon as it is convenient, and be assured always of the sincere esteem and affectionate regard of G. Washington.19
Hamilton chose a writing timetable which invested more time in a new draft and put less effort into a redraft of Madison's document. It made sense to start afresh because so much of the American political situation had changed since 1792. Hamilton went to work in a very deliberate, even dilatory fashion to create a work that reflected Washington's idea and voice. According to Elizabeth Hamilton, who claimed her husband read most of the draft Farewell Address to her, Hamilton drafted the document "principally at such times as his Office was seldom frequented by his clients and visitors, and during the absence of his students to avoid interruption; at which times he was in the habit of calling me to sit with him, that he might read to me as he wrote, in order, as he said, to discover how it sounded upon the ear, and making the remark, 'My dear Eliza, you must be to me what Moliere's old nurse was to hm.'"20

Hamilton's appreciation for the power of the pen - as compared to the power of the sword - had grown as Hamilton himself became better known for his pen than for his sword. Nevertheless, Hamilton's goal was not originality. Historian St. George Leakin Sioussat observed that "just as Jefferson frankly said in the Declaration of Independence he was but repeating what was in everybody's mouth, so the doctrine of the Farewell Address belong to all the [Founding] Fathers."21 Historian Alexander DeConde argued that "the main ideas and foreign policy principles of the Farewell were not unique with either Hamilton or Washington. They were prevalent Federalist ideas on current foreign policy and politics, and can be found expressed in various ways in the polemical literature of the time."22 Like the Declaration of Independence, the Farewell Address was a codification of the best of American thinking.

Close association with Washington made the task easier. Historian Jay Winik wrote: "Hamilton knew all his favorite aphorisms, his prejudices, and even his anachronistic phrases; indeed, by now whatever he wrote would invariably ring with Washington's voice. Over the course of that summer, Hamilton wrote several drafts, and the president made dozens of small changes, tightening, and clarifying, including in the final draft."23 On August 10, Hamilton wrote Washington about the draft he had sent him two weeks earlier: "Whichever you prefer if there be any part you wish to transfer from one to another - any part to be changed - or if there be any material idea in your own draft which has happened to be omitted and which you wish introduced - in short if there be anything further in the matter in which I can be of any [service], I will with great pleasure obey your commands."24 Washington did not like to be rushed in the preparation of his public papers. The same day that Hamilton wrote him, Washington had written Hamilton: "A cursory reading it has had, and the Sentiments therein contained are extremely just, & such as ought to be inculcated. The doubt that occurs at first view, is the length of it for a News Paper publication; and how far the occasion would countenance its appearing in any other form, without dilating more on the present state of matters, is questionable. All the columns of a large Gazette would scarcely, I conceive, contain the present draught. But having made no accurate calculation of this matter, I may be much mistaken."25 Historian Felix Gilbert wrote that "Hamilton's chief contribution to Washington's Farewell Address was the central section of the document, which replaced the 'list of wishes' of Washington's draft. Nevertheless, the theme of Washington's list of wishes, the warning against partisanship in foreign policy, was fully expressed; however, it was set in the wider framework of a general survey of domestic and foreign policy."26

Historian John Ferling noted: "Hamilton produced two documents. First, he sent to the president a draft of his own handiwork, a paper that incorporated some of the Madison-Washington version, but which also contained a long middle section that he had composed. Ten days later he forwarded an edited copy of the Madison-Washington draft. Not surprisingly, the president preferred Hamilton's original version to the Madison document. It was 'more dignified...and [contained] less egotism,' said Washington, and he added that he thought it would read better in Europe.'"27 Washington asked Hamilton to go over the draft with former Chief Justice John Jay, who recently had become governor of New York after negotiating the controversial Jay Treaty with England. As John Jay remembered the meeting, Hamilton said that the President's draft "was susceptible of improvement; that he thought the best way was to leave that draft untouched and to write a new draft, with such amendment, alterations, and corrections as he thought advisable, and that he had done so. He proposed to make it the subject of our council." As usual, Hamilton was in control. "We proceeded deliberately to discuss amendments; but they were not of much importance. The President's draft remained as delicacy required, and that was not obscured by interlineations."28

On August 26, Washington wrote Hamilton of his new document: "I prefer it greatly to the other draft, being more copious on material points, more dignified on the whole, and with less egotism. It goes as far as it ought with respect to any personal mention of myself.... I shall expunge all that is marked as unimportant in the paper; and, as you perceive some marginal notes written with a pencil, I pray you to give the sentiments so noticed material consideration. After which and in every other part, if change or alteration takes place in the draft, let them be so clearly interlined, erased, or referred to in the margin, as that no mistake may happen in copying it for the press."29

When Hamilton returned a new draft, he explained: "I seem now to have regularly a period of ill health every summer."30 (Hamilton had nearly died of yellow fever that afflicted Philadelphia in the summer of 1793.) Washington took his draft and the new one prepared by Hamilton and prepared his own document. But the president still had second thoughts. Like many of the Founders, he was truly concerned about education in the new nation. One of his favorite causes was the establishment of a national university. Washington wrote Hamilton on September 1: "Since revolving on the paper, I have regretted that another subject was not touched upon also, I mean education generally, as one of the surest means of enlightening, and giving just ways of thinking to our citizens; but particularly the establishment of a university."31 In reply Hamilton cautioned Washington to save the idea for his annual message to Congress: "The idea of a University is one of those which I think will be most properly reserved for your speech at the opening of the session."32


The relative contributions to the final document from Washington and Hamilton have been debated for two centuries. It was a close collaboration. Historian Horace Binney noted: "Two men were never better fitted for just such a joint work: fitted by different, and even by contrasting qualities, and by reciprocal trust and respect."33 In 1811 former Chief Justice John Jay wrote: "Washington, although always relying ultimately on his own judgement, was most solicitous to obtain light on every question and measure which he had to decide."34 Commentator Paul Zall wrote: "Hamilton's revision transformed the original self-pitying apologia into a dignified, statesmanlike assessment of Washington's principles and policy. This would be expected, since Hamilton still led the Federalists in or out of the Cabinet. But he also tempered Washington's tone, especially where the president himself had indicated in the margin, 'the imputation of affected' or 'the appearance of self-distrust and mere vanity,' evidence - if more were needed - that he was still trying to live up to the image expected of him as democratic demigod, passionate patriot, dispassionate president, rising superior over the shocks and injuries of fortune."35

Most historians believe that the language is primarily Hamilton's but the ideas are essentially Washington's. Historian Henry Cabot Lodge wrote in his collection of Hamilton's works, "The thoughts and the general idea of the Farewell Address as all Washington's. The form, the arrangement, and the method of argument are Hamilton's."36 Historian Samuel Flagg Bemis wrote: "Despite Hamilton's principal part in the phrasing of the document, and his previous expression of some of the ideas, we may be sure that in the final text the two men were thinking together in absolute unison."37 Hamilton biographer Marie Hecht wrote: "It was a true marriage of minds, the peak of amity and understanding between the two men, the final expression of the great collaboration between the first President of the United States and the founder of its financial system."38

"The final form of the address was Hamilton's, but its tone and direction were distinctly Washington's," wrote historian Stephen E. Lucas. "As his final words to the American people...it was his most complete explication of the ground upon which the United States could become a self-sufficient republic able to command its own destiny in the community of nations. It remained the supreme expression of the American political community until it was surpassed by Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address."39 Historian John Ferling wrote: "What emerged was an address that reflected thinking of Washington and Hamilton, which in the broadest sense was indistinguishable."40 Washington's Farewell address was essentially Washington's, concluded historian Victor Hugo Paltsits: "Hamilton knew from Washington that whatever he might do in reshaping, rewriting, or forming anew a draft, the results should be predicated upon the Sentiments' which Washington had indicated. This central fact Hamilton adhered to. He was solicitous to be governed by it. He had recognized that Washington would be the final judge. He considered his part in the undertaking as an affectionate act. He left his manuscripts with Washington without restraint. His words were: 'Whichever you may prefer, if there be any part you wish to transfer from one to another - any part to be changed - or if there be any material idea in your own draft which has happened to be omitted and which you wish introduced - in short if there be anything further in the matter in which I can be of any [service], I will with great pleasure obey your commands.' And it was precisely this freedom that Washington pursued in preparing his own final manuscript. He drew upon each source and altered or introduced words at will, even words that were in no anterior draft. In the last analysis he was his own editor; and the Farewell Address, in the final form for publication, was all in his own handwriting."41

In early September, Washington began finishing up official business in Philadelphia so that he could publish the finished document and return to Mount Vernon. On September 15, Washington summoned Philadelphia printer David C. Claypoole to the presidential residence. The printer was given the final draft and asked to put it into type for publication Monday afternoon. Claypoole set the type, proofed it, and gave it to Washington for its own last edit. The president changed punctuation only and prepared to leave the capital. Decades later, Hamilton's widow recalled: "Shortly after the publication of the address, my husband and myself were walking in Broadway, when an old soldier accosted him, with a request of him to purchase General Washington's Farewell address, which he did and turning to me said 'That man does not know he has asked me to purchase my own work.'"42

The American Union

The finished document of 6,085 words was an extended call for national unity - and a defense of Washington's Administration's policies, and a definition of the American union. The beginning announced his decision to retire, but that section served as a preface to a much longer dissertation on the state of the nation which began after Washington stated that "perhaps, I ought to stop." Instead, he went on to describe the nation of his dreams. Washington scholar Joel Achenbach wrote: "The United States today is, in many ways, the country that Washington envisioned, only more so, an exaggeration of his Union, not merely an actor in a most conspicuous theater, but a dominating force on the planet."43 As Washington says near of the end of his address: "With me a predominant motive has been to endeavor to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes."

Washington's desire for national union made him uncomfortable with party differences. Preparing to leave office in 1796 Washington wrote Thomas Jefferson, "I was no party man myself...and the first wish of my heart was, if parties did exist, to reconcile them."44 Whether or not Washington would have acknowledged it, there was a clear partisan message in a nonpartisan text, according to historian Bruce Ackerman, who wrote that "partisan politics...stood behind Washington's grave denunciation of party. The passage was ghostwritten by Alexander Hamilton, the Federalist party leader; and it came at a time at a time of maximum partisan advantage. Washington held off his announcement until September 17, 1796, keeping the Republicans off-balance in the presidential campaign - since Jefferson was unprepared to oppose Washington if he decided to continue in office. Now the chief magistrate had given the Federalists a wonderful electioneering tool, enabling them to denounce the Republicans as factionalists in opposing the election of John Adams."45 Indeed, noted political scientist Glenn A. Phelps, "Despite his passionate pleadings to refrain from factionalism Washington's presidency served, with the exception of the first year or two, as a lightning rod for partisanship."46 Partisanship and foreign policy were inextricably linked.

Political scientist Virginia L. Arbery wrote: "By exhorting lovers of liberty to habituate their thought and speech to attachment to union, Washington fathers the image in the liberty-loving citizens of union and liberty being married in principle." The Farewell was a paean to the Union to which Washington had devoted his adult life. Arbery noted that "Washington invites his fellow citizens to view themselves now as Americans who, out of their love for the truth of liberty, have replaced their maiden names (Virginians, South Carolinians, New Yorkers, etc.) with that of 'American.' Get rid of, he urges, 'any appellation derived from local discriminations.'"47 By defining himself as an American rather than as a Virginian, Washington set the national standard for all citizens. "Over and over, Washington said that America must be something set apart. As he put it to Patrick Henry, 'In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others.'" Historian Garry Wills wrote: "This was a theme dear to Washington. He wrote to Timothy Pickering that the nation 'must never forget that we are Americans; the remembrance of which will convince us we ought not to be French or English'."48

Trade was vital to the development of a national character and the integration of the 13 states into a national union. Washington wrote that "every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole. The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal Laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of Maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South in the same Intercourse, benefitting by the Agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand....The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications, by land and water, will more and more find a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from aboard, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and which is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future Maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of Interest as one Nation." Historian Burton Ira Kaufman wrote: "The President's interest in opening up the West, his promotion of national unity and stronger central government, and his emphasis on self-sufficiency were all related to his vision of the United States as an expanding nation and future world power."49

As always, Washington preached national union: "The Unity of Government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. 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. But as it is easy to foresee, that from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual and immoveable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned, and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our Country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts."
For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. 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. With slight shades of difference, you have the same Religion, Manners, Habits and political Principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together. The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils, and joint efforts; of common dangers, sufferings and success.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your Interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole.
Like trade and expansion, Washington saw education, virtue, and religion as providing potential unifying effects for the new nation. Although Washington seldom spoke personally about his faith, he was a strong advocate for the public uses of religion. Philosophy professor Jacob Needleman placed Washington's address in a biblical context. Needleman wrote that "the whole question of 'foreign alliances' which Washington warned against - and, in so doing, created a dominant force in American foreign policy even up to our present day - this whole issue can begin to resonate in a manner reminiscent of similar warnings voiced by the prophet Isaiah. Washington even uses the religious word 'apostate'...to describe the danger of wrong connections with foreign powers, wrong dependence upon external forces." Needleman wrote that "Washington inserts an especially important and interesting comment about the role of religion in the political and economic life of the nation. Here he speaks almost explicitly about the difference between an individual seeking intensively for self-cultivation of the spirit - such an individual may not need the forms and symbols for the church - and the general process of life in the nation as a whole. The life of the nation as a whole must proceed within the fabric of religious or religiously moral ideals. There can be no democracy and no social survival where the social order is based only on the self-interest of the parts of the individual."50 Washington wrote:
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.
Partisanship and Foreign Policy

Although the address was a call for American Union, it had a partisan purpose as well. Historian Jay Winik wrote that "of all his thoughtful words and gentle admonitions, the Farewell Address was also a party document scrupulously woven to justify Washington's policies and Federalist ideology. With some overstatement, when it spoke about 'ill-founded jealousies and false alarms' of factious men, or the 'small but artful and enterprising minority,' it meant the Jeffersonians. When it advised the people that the power and responsibility belong 'to your Representatives' and praised 'the real patriots,' he meant the Federalists."51 Historian Gordon H. Wood noted that "Probably nothing in Washington's Address reveals the traditional nature of his thinking about politics more than this lengthy heartfelt condemnation of parties. Of course, he was striking out against the Republican party without conceding that the Federalists, of whom he was the leader, were in any way a party."52 Historian John Ferling wrote that Washington's "valedictory was carefully crafted to advance the interests of the Federalist Party and, he hoped, ensure its domination for years to come."53 Washington's partisanship was nevertheless patriotic. Historian François Furstenberg wrote: "The republicanism of Washington's writings, to be read privately, pronounced publicly and eventually taught in schools, helped keep Americans mindful of threats to national unity, urging them to shun partisanship, avoid foreign entanglements, obey the country's laws, and most of all, to preserve the Constitution."54 Washington scholar John Seelye wrote that the address was "in effect a hardline Federalist sermon warning against foreign entanglements."55

Washington's Farewell Address was written in the shadow of ratification of the Jay Treaty with Britain in 1795 and of France's outrageous behavior that preceded and followed ratification - behavior that extended to interference in American domestic affairs. The Address reflected discord in Europe and conflict on the high seas. Historian Bradford Perkins wrote: "There are...few parallels to France's action in 1796, an open demand, across a wide ocean, unbacked by an invasion threat, that a people follow foreign wishes. The Directory's arrogance roused nationalistic sentiment that virtually doomed its policy from the start."56 Although the political situation was new; the ideas of the Farewell reflected Hamilton's thinking for several years. Historian Felix Gilbert wrote: "Some of the formulations which the Farewell Address and the Horatius paper [written by Hamilton] have in common can also be found in the Memorandum of September 15, 1790, the first written presentation of Hamilton's opinions on foreign affairs as a member of Washington's Cabinet."57

The themes were also familiar to Washington's administration of the nation's foreign policy. Biographer Richard Brookhiser noted that the Farewell "address restated many of the themes of Washington's administration and his career, mostly famously the doctrine of national self-interest and independence, first stated in his letter to Henry Laurens on the French in Canada. 'The Nation, which indulges toward another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."58 Historian Samuel Flagg Bemis wrote that the speech's "fundamental ideas were...suggested by experience, and very recent and painful experience." Stanley Elkins and Eric McKittrick noted that the sections dealing with partisanship and foreign policy were very closely related: "...each is part of the same argument; both are aimed at a common evil. For Washington the transition from parties to foreign affairs was altogether a logical one; foreign affairs as he saw it constituted by all odds the predominant area of partisanship, the prime example of the curse of party."59 Historian Felix Gilbert wrote: "Because the Farewell Address comprises various aspects of American political thinking, it reaches beyond any period limited in time and reveals the basic issue of the American attitude toward foreign policy: the tension between Idealism and Realism."60

Washington was still fighting for America's independence from British influence and French meddling. As Historian Robert Ellis Jones observed, "Washington reckoned with the effective separation by the Atlantic Ocean."61 Historian Samuel Flagg Bemis wrote: "It was to remove foreign interference in our domestic affairs, to preserve the nation and the people from Europe's distresses, that the retiring first President, with a particular eye to relations with France, marked out for his now private adviser, Alexander Hamilton, the subjects which he would like to include in his final address. In characteristically familiar and felicitous phrases - many of which we may find already expressed in the Federalist and other products of his pen - Hamilton wrote out the President's ideas. Of Washington were the trunk and branches of the sturdy tree. The shimmering foliage dancing and shining in the sunlight was Hamilton's." Washington advocated for American neutrality and against permanent alliances while maintaining "good faith and justice towards all nations." Washington recognized that was advantageous to America during the Revolutionary War was not necessarily advantageous to an independent and developing nation. The president wrote in the Farewell:
Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government. the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves by suitable establishments on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.
The Farewell Address reflected four years of conflict with Britain and France. Historian Roland G. Usher wrote: "The strength of the British sea power, the probable continuance of its supremacy, and the extent of American dependence upon Europe, made cordial relations with Great Britain essential; an alliance with that country was therefore prima facie expedient and desirable. The closer our contact (always assuming that we retained our political independence), the more advantageous the relation would be for both countries."62 Historian Samuel Flagg Bemis wrote: "The immediate purpose of the Address was to strike a powerful blow against French intermeddling in American affairs. After the victory of Jay's Treaty in the House of Representatives it had been [French diplomat Pierre] Adet's advice, and this was also recommended by the returned Fauchet, that some strong and positive action ought to be taken to make the American ally more amenable to French interests." Adet wrote to his government about the printed address: "It would be useless to speak to you about it. You will have noticed the lies it contains, the insolent tone that governs it, the immorality which characterizes it. You will have had no difficulty in recognizing the author of a piece extolling ingratitude, showing it as a virtue necessary to the happiness of States, presenting interest as the only counsel which governments ought to following the course of their negotiations, putting aside honor and glory. You will have recognized immediately the doctrine of the former Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton, and the principles of loyalty that have always directed the Philadelphia Government."63 More damaging, Adet protested to the U.S. government and then arranged for its publication in an anti-Federalist newspaper in Philadelphia. "Adet's notes and Secretary of State Timothy Pickering's replies were used as campaign ammunition by both sides. Federalists, of course, were furious," wrote historian Alexander DeConde. They denounced Adet's pronouncements for what they were - brazen electioneering maneuvers by a foreign agent." DeConde noted that Adet remained clueless to the detrimental impact his actions were having among Americans to his own cause.64

Historian Roland G. Usher noted that Washington "constantly distinguished between permanent political alliances, which he believed inexpedient for the United States because we had no interest in the 'ordinary' friendships or enmities in Europe, and temporary political alliances, which he felt would be under extraordinary emergencies essential. His warning against European alliances emphasized again and engagements which were not rooted in American interests."65 Washington wanted to reap the benefits of European conflict without engaging in the conflicts themselves.

In addition to spurning French interference in American affairs, Washington was also clearly rejecting the Jeffersonians' fixation with France and adoration of the French Revolution. Nevertheless, noted historian John C. Miller, "It was Republican spokesmen such as Albert Gallatin of Pennsylvania and John Nicholas and William Branch Giles of Virginia, rather than President Washington, who proclaimed the doctrine of isolationism. These men denied that the United States had any concern in the balance of power in Europe. 'We may lament the fate of Poland and Venice,' said Gallatin, 'and I never can myself see, without regret, independent nations blotted from the map of the world. But their destiny does not affect us in the lease. We have no interest whatever in that balance, and by us it should be altogether forgotten and neglected.'"66 America's top diplomat in France, James Monroe, had effectively gone native, attributed bad faith to his own government in Philadelphia. As a consequence, Monroe, a strong critic of the Jay Treaty, had been recalled by Washington in August, further worsening relations with France. Historian Harry Ammon wrote: "When Monroe's successor, Charles C. Pinckney, arrived in Paris early in December, the Directory announced that no minister would be received until the United States had satisfactorily answered French complaints. In this final breach Monroe saw no French defects, but blamed Washington's farewell address, which seemed to repudiate the American tie with France."67


The Farewell Address was designed to achieve several objectives. It was foremost a statement of Washington's intended retirement. It served to spell out Washington's view of American domestic unity and foreign policy. Finally, it was a rebuke to the Jeffersonians and their French affinity. Historian John Ferling took a dim view of the impact of Washington's work: "As Washington must have expected, his Farewell Address elicited a partisan response. Acclaim blared forth from the Federalist press, faultfinding held sway in Republican organs. What would have surprised him in all likelihood was the transformation that occurred in the nineteenth century, for within a very few years of his death the valedictory almost universally was revered, and that at a time when the Federalist party had collapsed, leaving the Republicans in command of the nation's cultural and ideological lockbox. Whatever Washington's hopes about the timelessness of the document, contemporaries not unrealistically saw it for what it was - a defense of Federalist philosophy and Federalist governance comingled with an implicit pleas that the policies of that faction be permitted to continue."68 John C. Miller noted: "The reception according the Farewell Address revealed that President Washington had good reason to deplore the baneful effects of party feeling in the United States. His decision to retire was almost the only act of his second administration that was approved by the Republican press."69

Historian Alexander DeConde wrote that James Madison believed the address was "all politics. Under the complete influence of the British faction, Madison wrote, Washington obviously sought to destroy the French alliance. 'It has been known,' he continued, 'that every channel has been latterly opened that could convey to his mind a rancor against that country [France] and suspicion of all who are thought to sympathize with its revolution and who support the policy of extending our commerce and in general of standing well with it. But it was not easy to suppose his mind wrought up to the tone that could dictate or rather adopt some parts of the performance.'"70

The ensuing presidential election of 1796 was close, but Vice President John Adams defeated former Secretary of State Jefferson by a vote of 71-68 in the Electoral College. Jefferson won most of the South and Adams took most of the Northeast. On March 4, 1797, outgoing President Washington attended the inauguration of incoming President Adams. Two months later, King George III had an interview with American painter Benjamin West. As West reported the interview to Rufus King, who in turn reported that King George called Washington "act closing and finishing what had gone before and viewed in connection it, placed him a light the most distinguished of any man living and that he thought him the greatest character of the age."71

"The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. 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," wrote George Washington in his timeless Farewell. Nearly 44 years later, Senator Henry Clay delivered a speech on the Senator floor in which he said: "The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity - unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity."72

The Farewell was the end of an era in American politics. It was greeted as such. "General approbation for the valedictory and grief at Washington's announcement of his retirement met the publication of the address," noted Hamilton biographer Hamilton biographer Marie B. Hecht. "Almost all the newspapers in the United States and even some European publications printed it. There were also many pamphlet editions."73 The document effectively removed Washington from politics, albeit temporarily. "I sincerely believe that no nation ever felt more ardent attachment to its chief," wrote Secretary of War James McHenry. He added: "...'tis certain that history cannot furnish an example such as you have given. Those men who have relinquished sovereign power, have done it under circumstances which tarnished more or less the glory of the act; but in the present case, there is no circumstance which does not serve to augment it."74 George S. Mott wrote: "The publication of the Address produced a profound sensation. Several of the State Legislatures ordered it to be inserted in their Journals. At once the severe and vituperative invectives that prevailed were hushed. It commanded the highest admiration of the statesmen of Europe."75

The partisan view of Washington's text quickly faded - hastened by Washington's death three years later in December 1799. Historian François Furstenberg wrote: "It was in the period following Washington's death that civic texts like these eulogies made the Farewell Address a statement of inviolable political principles. Although widely published in 1796, the address was republished only sporadically in the years following this retirement. Washington's death drove a resurgence in the popularity of the address, feeding a new wave of editions and launching the Farewell address to the very peak of the nationalist civic canon, on par with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution."76 Furstenberg noted: "After Washington's death, the address was reprinted in virtually every American newspaper; included in schoolbooks and collections of Washington's writings; reprinted in biographies; and quoted in, even annexed to, published eulogies. The title of a Massachusetts eulogy was typical: An Eulogy On the Illustrious Character of The Late General George Washington...To Which is Added General Washington's Parental and Affectionate Address To His Country, Declining Their Future Suffrages For The Presidency."77

Washington biographer Harrison Clark wrote: "Washington never conceived that his last farewell would be looked upon by his countrymen as if it had come from Mount Sinai. He expressed in it only the modest hope that 'counsels from an old and affectionate friend...may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the imposture of pretended patriotism.' Nonetheless, for many Americans, the address, reproduced at the time from one end of the country to another by press and pamphlet and so often reprinted since, became almost as sacred as the Constitution itself."78

In creating the Farewell Address, Washington knew what he was doing. Historian Woodrow Wilson wrote that the farewell address "was a noble document. No thoughtful man could read it without emotion, knowing how it spoke in all its solemn sentences the great character of the man whose career was ended."79 Gordon S. Wood wrote: "This document became one of the great state papers of American history, often read in classrooms and elsewhere well into the twentieth century. Indeed, speakers and writers at the time, both Federalists and Republicans, urged that the Farewell Address be read by all Americans. It seemed that significant to the future of the nation."80 Historian Samuel Flagg Bemis wrote that the Farewell Address "represented the crystallization of the experience of remarkably clear-headed men with foreign affairs since the Declaration of Independence. It was given forthwith to the public in a newspaper. It spoke directly to the great and simple audience of the American people. 'The name of AMERICAN', it said to them, putting the word into bold type, 'which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.'"81

For Further Reference

  1. George S. Mott, "Formation of Washington's Farewell Address to the American People," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1897, p. 392.
  2. Horace Binney, An Inquiry into the Formation of Washington's Farewell Address, pp. 174-175.
  3. Burton Ira Kaufman, editor, Washington's Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century, p. 54 (Roland G. Usher, "Washington and Entangling Alliances").
  4. John C. Miller, The Federalist Era, p. 196.
  5. Garry Wills, Cincinnatus: George Washington and the Enlightenment, p. 88.
  6. Richard Brookhiser, Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, p. 185.
  7. Garry Wills, Cincinnatus: George Washington and the Enlightenment, p. 161.
  8. James Thomas Flexner, Washington: The Indispensable Man, p. 356.
  9. Gordon S. Wood, Revolutionary Characters, pp. 61, 60.
  10. Harrison Clark, All Cloudless Glory: The Life of George Washington, Volume II, p. 337.
  11. George S. Mott, "Formation of Washington's Farewell Address to the American People," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1897, p. 395.
  12. James Thomas Flexner, Washington: The Indispensable Man, p. 349.
  13. Harrison Clark, All Cloudless Glory: The Life of George Washington, Volume II, p. 334.
  14. Susan Dunn, Jefferson's Second Revolution: The Election Crisis of 1800 and the Triumph of Republicanism, p. 71.
  15. (Letter from Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, May 10, 1796).
  16. (Letter from George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, May 15, 1796).
  17. François Furstenberg, In the Name of the Father: Washington's Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation, p. 6.
  18. (Letter from George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, May 15, 1796).
  19. (Letter from George Washington Alexander Hamilton, June 26, 1796).
  20. Allan McLane Hamilton, The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton, p. 111. (Elizabeth Hamilton's Statement as to Washington s Farewell, August 7, 1840).
  21. Burton Ira Kaufman, editor, Washington's Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century, p. 75 (St. George Leakin Sioussat, "The Farewell Address in the Twentieth Century") v
  22. Alexander DeConde, "Washington's Farewell, the French Alliance, and the Election of 1796," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, March 1957, p. 650.
  23. Jay Winik, The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800, p. 498.
  24. (Letter from Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, August 10, 1796).
  25. (Letter from George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, August 10, 1796).
  26. Felix Gilbert, To the Farewell Address: Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy, p. 129.
  27. John E. Ferling, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, p. 446.
  28. George S. Mott, "Formation of Washington's Farewell Address to the American People," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1897, p. 398.
  29. (Letter from George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, August 26, 1796).
  30. (Letter from Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, September 2, 1796).
  31. (Letter from George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, September 1, 1796).
  32. (Letter from Alexander Hamilton to George Washington, September 4, 1796).
  33. Horace Binney, An Inquiry into the Formation of Washington's Farewell Address, p. 85.
  34. George S. Mott, "Formation of Washington's Farewell Address to the American People," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1897, pp. 403
  35. Paul Zall, editor, Washington on Washington, p. xx-xxi.
  36. Henry Cabot Lodge, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, Volume VIII, p. 188.
  37. Samuel Flagg Bemis, "Washington's Farewell Address: A Foreign Policy of Independence," The American Historical Review, January 1934, p. 263.
  38. Marie B. Hecht, Odd Destiny: The Life of Alexander Hamilton, p. 313.
  39. Stephen E. Lucas, "Review of A Sacred Union of Citizens: George Washington's Farewell Address and the American Character," The Journal of American History, March 1998. P. 1492.
  40. John Ferling, The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon, p. 348.
  41. Victor Hugo Paltsits, Washington's Farewell Address, see http://gwpapers.virginia.edu/documents/farewell/intro.html.
  42. Allan McLane Hamilton, The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton, p. 111.
  43. Joel Achenbach, The Grand Idea: George Washington's Potomac and the Race to the West, p. 293.
  44. James Morton Smith, Washington: A Profile, p. 218 (Esmond Wright, "President of the United States (1789-1797)").
  45. Bruce Ackerman, The Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy, pp. 23-24.
  46. Glenn A. Phelps, George Washington & American Constitutionalism, p. 179.
  47. Gary L. Gregg II and Matthew Spalding, Patriot Sage: George Washington and the American Political Tradition, pp. 204, 206 (Virginia L. Arbery, "Washington's Farewell Address and the Form of the American Regime").
  48. Garry Wills, Cincinnatus: George Washington and the Enlightenment, pp. 92-93.
  49. Burton Ira Kaufman, editor, Washington's Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century, p.171 (Burton Ira Kaufman, "Washington's Farewell Address: A Statement of Empire")
  50. Jacob Needlemen, The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders, pp. 118, 130.
  51. Jay Winik, The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800, p. 499.
  52. Gordon S. Wood, Empire of Liberty, p. 207.
  53. John Ferling, The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon, p. 348.
  54. François Furstenberg, In the Name of the Father: Washington's Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation, p. 45.
  55. John Seelye, Beautiful Machine: Rivers and the Republican Plan, 1755-1825, p. 251.
  56. Bradford Perkins, The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, Volume I, p. 102.
  57. Felix Gilbert, To the Farewell Address: Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy, p. 132.
  58. Richard Brookhiser, Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, p. 101.
  59. Stanley Elkins and Eric McKittrick, The Federalists, p. 494.
  60. Felix Gilbert, To the Farewell Address: Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy, p. 136.
  61. Burton Ira Kaufman, editor, Washington's Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century, p. 41 (Robert Ellis Jones, "Washington's Farewell Address and its Applications").
  62. Burton Ira Kaufman, editor, Washington's Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century, p. 57 (Roland G. Usher, "Washington and Entangling Alliances").
  63. Samuel Flagg Bemis, "Washington's Farewell Address: A Foreign Policy of Independence," The American Historical Review, January 1934, pp. 262-263.
  64. Alexander DeConde, "Washington's Farewell, the French Alliance, and the Election of 1796," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, March 1957, p. 654.
  65. Burton Ira Kaufman, editor, Washington's Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century, p. 62 (Roland G. Usher, "Washington and Entangling Alliances").
  66. John C. Miller, The Federalist Era, p. 109.
  67. Harry Ammon, James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity, p. 155.
  68. John E. Ferling, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, p. 470.
  69. John C. Miller, The Federalist Era, p. 196.
  70. Alexander DeConde, "Washington's Farewell, the French Alliance, and the Election of 1796," The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, March 1957, p. 652.
  71. Harrison Clark, All Cloudless Glory: The Life of George Washington, Volume II, p. 350.
  72. (Henry Clay, Speech to U.S. Senate, February 6, 1850).
  73. Marie B. Hecht, Odd Destiny: The Life of Alexander Hamilton, p. 313.
  74. (Letter from James McHenry to George Washington, September 25, 1796).
  75. George S. Mott, "Formation of Washington's Farewell Address to the American People," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 1897, p. 402.
  76. François Furstenberg, In the Name of the Father: Washington's Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation, pp. 39-40.
  77. François Furstenberg, In the Name of the Father: Washington's Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation, p. 41.
  78. Harrison Clark, All Cloudless Glory: The Life of George Washington, Volume II, p. 337.
  79. Woodrow Wilson, George Washington, p. 309.
  80. Gordon S. Wood, Empire of Liberty, p. 207.
  81. Burton Ira Kaufman, editor, Washington's Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century, p. 99 ( Samuel Flagg Bemis, "A Foreign Policy of Independence").

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