George Washington: Farewell Address

(1796)

A key element of George Washington’s legacy to his country, his Farewell Address is one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In the first of two parts, Washington expresses his thanks for the opportunity to serve his country. In the second part, which is much longer, Washington stresses the importance of the Union in maintaining independence, peace, liberty, and prosperity. He fears that the Union may be threatened by the political turmoil and partisanship raging throughout the country because of a rise of political parties, attempts to undermine the Constitution's separation of powers, and the adherence to foreign powers at the expense of America's best interests. American foreign policy and commerce, Washington suggests, should be pragmatically developed on a country-by-country basis with America's interest always occupying center stage.

Image for: George Washington: Farewell Address

George Washington's Farewell Address (National Archives and Records Administration)

View Full Size