After making a difficult decision about his resignation, the first U.S. President George Washington with the support of the influential figures of that time James Madison and Alexander Hamilton wrote a heartwarming letter to his beloved nation and devoted public called Farewell Address. Despite protests and dissatisfaction of his colleagues from the administration, the leader decided to retire and not seek the next term. From the technical perspective, Washington did not develop speech, but rather produced an important letter to Americans issued in the national media. The President’s supporters described it as a valedictory after almost two decades of service for the benefit of generation and entire republic. In his message, the national leader highlighted the fact that America became independent from the foreign influence, reached liberty due to the dedication and unity of the citizens on the path of creating a conservative republic. The paper seeks to examine Farewell Address issued in 1796 as a significant document and commemorative letter underlying the political course of the U.S. Federalist Party.
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Important historical events marked the presidency of George Washington. After serving the nation for two long terms he decided to resign (Pingel, 2014). It was one of the most difficult decisions made by the national leader caused by the burden of the entire presidency, great responsibility, exhaustion, fatigue due to the advanced age, long and difficult years of work for the beloved nation, and the constant attacks of political opponents. The prominent political statesmen Madison and Hamilton helped the first U.S. President to create the Farewell Address that has become an integral part of the leader’s rich heritage.
By developing a valedictory based on a classic federalist judgment, the nation’s father sought to guide, stimulate, and motivate the public to move forward overcoming difficulties and obstacles on its way. One may interpret Washington’s farewell speech as a kind of defense against the government’s rebukes and remarks (Tindall & Shi, 2012). Citizens were highly concerned about their lives without the first national leader. However, George Washington tried to ensure the nation that his tenure was no longer necessary, and a worthy successor would replace him. In his valedictory, he also mentioned some aspects from his inaugural speech, namely the fact that he never sought to become a president. The leader believed that all his vital accomplishments were the result of significant public efforts and Americans’ dedication that helped the nation to survive and prosper. Despite his conviction and faith that the republic would lose nothing with his resignation, Washington endeavoured to point out to the greatest hazards facing the country at that time, and what the nation had to do to avoid destruction.
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In his Farewell Address, the eminent leader highlighted the aspects of security and long-term happiness of Americans. He also warned the public about threats and gave helpful advice (Pingel, 2014). Washington’s valedictory was deservedly regarded as an unprecedented political statement of the entire U.S. history due to the leader’s voluntary resignation. Farewell Address significantly contributed to the establishment of the republican government. Along with the Constitution as a supreme law and the Declaration of Independence, Washington’s speech reflected the fundamental goals set by the nation’s father, namely adequate and timely response to the foreign threats and resolution of domestic discord. Moreover, the first President emphasized that prosperity, recognition, and success could be reached only through unity of all people, who are concerned with the country’s fate. Therefore, the main aim pursued by Washington was to preserve the Union and statehood. He also criticized prejudice, partiality, and sectionalism as they would destroy the national interest and slow down progress and prosperity. In his valedictory, Washington urged the nation to bless and cherish the sacred tie between the Union and supreme law. Moreover, he wanted the citizens to promote the ideals of democracy and patriotism, as well as freely express their pride of being Americans in spite of existing disagreements and differences.
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George Washington recognized the fact that the local factors and internal division could ruin America. The leader thought pragmatically while discussing the necessity to protect and preserve the national unity as it guarantees strength, availability of vital resources, and adequate, timely response to any challenge facing the country. He also believed that the U.S. could only benefit from solidarity and the state of cohesion. In his valedictory, Washington described the union as a prop of sovereignty and national freedom. In the Farewell Address, he also warned the American nation about the adverse effects of the spirit of the party seeking to separate the world by establishing rival groups (Schmidt, Shelley, Bardes, Ford, Maxwell, Crain, & Santos, 2011). Washington claimed that the political parties sought only to enrich themselves disregarding the fact that they should work for the benefit of the whole democratic society and protect the rights of American citizens. Therefore, the promotion of factional groups posed a great challenge to Washington’s tenure and the entire nation. Individuals, who wanted to divide the U.S., pursued own interests and targets.
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The current paper has deeply explored Farewell Address of the first American President. Due to various reasons, the national leader refused to seek the third term. In his valedictory, George Washington emphasized the aspects of justice, religion, unity, faith, morality, and patriotism and urged citizens to freely express their pride of being Americans. The nation’s father also highlighted the crucial role of republic in the world and the fact that the foreign policy required a balanced approach. Washington promoted the development of commercial relations with other countries as well as sought to reduce the political connection as much as possible. In Farewell Address, the leader warned the nation of political hazards and urged Americans to promote democratic and life-asserting values, as well as preserve the national identity.