A prophetic father of his nation, President George Washington issued his Farewell Address as he approached the top of his second time period in workplace on this day in historical past, Sept. 19, 1796.
He triumphantly celebrated the burgeoning young nation and his function in its creation, whereas soberly warning of the menace posed by regional and sectarian division.
“In looking forward to the moment which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me,” wrote Washington in an handle that first appeared in the American Daily Advertiser, a newspaper in Philadelphia.
Washington was the hero of the American Revolution — and his Abrahamic religion in the cause of independence impressed and held the nation collectively in the darkest hours of the rebel.
But celebration divisions arose in the United States throughout his time in workplace. He warned in 1796 of their potential to shred the hard-fought unity of the earlier 20 years.
“One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts,” Washington mentioned in his handle.
“They tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.”
“The name of American … must always exalt the just pride of patriotism.” — George Washington
He added, “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”
Washington issued his farewell assertion after selecting to not run for a 3rd time period as president.
He proved the uncommon chief in historical past who willingly forfeited what might need been many extra years of energy.
His choice set the stage for the custom of presidents to serve solely two phrases.
The two-term custom was codified by the twenty second Amendment, ratified in 1951, six years after Franklin D. Roosevelt died in workplace whereas serving his fourth time period as president.
Washington was so beloved in his period he was unanimously voted the nation’s first president by the electoral school in late 1788-early 1789.
John Adams was elected the primary vp.
Washington and Adams each simply gained re-election in 1792.
But the vice presidential race of that second nationwide election started to divide alongside celebration traces, setting the stage for Washington’s farewell warning.
Adams, of the Federalist Party, defeated Thomas Jefferson, of the Democratic-Republican Party, in Nov. 1796, two months after Washington’s farewell.
The father of his nation invoked delight in his new nation, one distinctive in the historical past of mankind, as he left public life.
“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,” he mentioned.
“Washington’s Farewell Address spoke to contemporary concerns that the Union was weak and vulnerable to attacks from internal and external enemies,” writes the library of George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
“But even after the uncertainty of the early national period had passed, his message of unity remained powerful.”
Washington’s phrases, Mount Vernon additionally says, are “still recited annually in the United States Senate, a tradition dating back to the Civil War. The Farewell Address endures as a critical founding document for issues of Union, partisanship and isolationism.”