G. Washington’s Farewell Address

George Washington’s Farewell Address:

My summaries in parenthesis & underlined

……that the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; (Keep the Constitution true to it’s word, strictly observed, only wise and virtuous representatives in Congress)

……… 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 counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes. (Be proud to be an American more so than your local region. Realize that you have slight differences and are mostly the same and fought for independence and liberty. Bringing people together, not dividing them.)

……… Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. (Warning against standing armies. Perfect example is what Nazi Germany did to “liberty” and “republicanism” principles. The Jews (minority) were stripped of all rights then murdered.)

….The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. (The people are the ones to make and alter THEIR government.)

…They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests…… However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion. (Washington’s stern warning of political parties which have “an artificial & extraordinary force.” Are put in “the place of the delegates,” They “become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will usurp the power of the people and usurp the reins of government.” Exactly what many representatives do today. They could care less what the people say and believe, ie. Paul Ryan passing Obama’s Ominibus Bill.)

…I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally……… It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another. (More criticism of political parties. They weaken the “administration.” “Agitates” the people with “ill-founded jealousies and false alarms.”—t.v. ads. Opens the “door to foreign influence and corruption.” Sounds like our government today.)

….It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. (Why should the people have “caution in those entrusted with its administration? Because they have “the habits of thinking in a free country—meaning legislators always want to put their name to bills and further clog up the law making process. Watch those in power. Do not let one department to “encroach” upon another. This creates a “despotism.”—Obama is a perfect example and the Congress has done NOTHING to stop him. 1. Immigration, 2.Debt 3. Wars 4. Trading prisoners, etc. The “love of power, and proneness to abuse it”—Obama. “Checks” are necessary in each department.)

…..If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. (Change the Constitution properly by “amendments” BUT NOT by “usurpation” leads to “by which free governments are destroyed.” Examples, 1. Federal Reserve Bank 2. Department of Education, etc.)

….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,….The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them….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,…..reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle……. Promote then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. (This is a whopper and very TRUE. “Religion and morality” are what leads to “political prosperity.” You cannot separate “religion and morality” from politics. You CANNOT be called a “patriot” if you try to remove these “pillars of human happiness.”—religion & morality. Both the “politician and pious man” ought to revere them. Your “property, reputation and life” are in danger without “religious obligations.” Morals cannot be maintained without religion. We cannot be a moral nation without religion. “Promote” morals and religion in the schools.)

…As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit……. avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertion in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear…..(be proud of “public credit.” Avoid “debt”, wish Bush & even more so Obama would follow this precept.)

….Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it. (Keep the “peace and harmony with” all nations. “Observe good faith and justice” towards all nations. The Bible and morals should keep us toward these goals.)

…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. (ie., the United Nations)

….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……. 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. (Europe is “engaged in frequent controversies” so we should steer clear (politically) away from them. Against foreign “alliances”—friend with one alliance means your not friends with another. “honesty is the best policy”

What do you think about the time period before WWI? Leading up to WWII? The Cold War? Does Washington’s philosophy stay true after 1900?)

….to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated. (Warning against “foreign intrigue.”—how it can corrupt our nation. Be careful with citizens who are false patriots, ie. Louis Gutierrez of Illinois. James Madison also warned us of these men who with “foreign predilections, who “might obtain appointments”)

Thank you for reading, Marc


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