George Washington - Farewell address to America...
In September 1796, worn out by burdens of the presidency and attacks of political foes, George Washington announced his decision not to seek a third term. With the assistance of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Washington composed in a “Farewell Address” his political testament to the nation. Designed to inspire and guide future generations, the address also set forth Washington’s defense of his administration’s record and embodied a classic statement of Federalist doctrine.
Washington’s principal concern was for the safety of the eight-year old Constitution. He believed that the stability of the Republic was threatened by the forces of geographical sectionalism, political factionalism, and interference by foreign powers in the nation’s domestic affairs. He urged Americans to subordinate sectional jealousies to common national interests. Writing at a time before political parties had become accepted as vital extraconstitutional, opinion-focusing agencies, Washington feared that they carried the seeds of the nation’s destruction through petty factionalism. Although Washington was in no sense the father of American isolationism, since he recognized the necessity of temporary associations for “extraordinary emergencies,” he did counsel against the establishment of “permanent alliances with other countries,” connections that he warned would inevitably be subversive of America’s national interest.
Washington did not publicly deliver his Farewell Address. It first appeared on September 19, 1796, in the Philadelphia
Daily American Advertiser and then in papers around the country.