George Washington’s Farewell Address:
A Warning For Us Today
It is significant that we are named The United States of America. A person’s name is their identity. Names identify an individual’s lineage and heritage and distinguishes us from one another. Traditionally, a name identified the subject’s essence and character. In ancient and eastern cultures, a name was viewed as equivalent to the person themselves; their worth, character, reputation and essence being communicated through their name.
In George Washington’s Farewell Address, he warns;
“… You should properly estimate the immense value your national Union to your collective and individual happiness;… indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest… your Union ought to be considered as in main prop of your liberty, and the love of one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.”
The principle of union is a central principle of liberty. Union is the joining of two or more independent bodies into one. The external union of a people results from an internal unity of ideas and principles residing in their hearts.
“…Men may endeavor to excite a belief, that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinion and aims of other districts…The alternate dominion of one faction over another, sharpened by a spirit of revenge…will gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual…it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions.”
We see daily examples of individuals, whether it be politicians, reporters, private citizens; “exciting a belief…(in order to) acquire influence within particular districts” and “misrepresent the aim of other districts…sharpened by a spirit of revenge…”
So what is the solution? In his Address, George Washington recommends the following;
“The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.”
~Hold unity in high regard
~Work to keep unity
~Recognize unity as a pillar of liberty & independence, tranquility at home, peace abroad and prosperity
~Guard your minds with the conviction of this truth
~Be watchful for division
“Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to a political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…they are essential pillars of a society.”
We are The UNITED States of America. UNITED we stand.
To read the entire address, go to