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George Washington's Farewell Address

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  420 ratings  ·  42 reviews
On September 17,1796, George Washington announced that he would leave the presidency. His famous farewell address encapsulates a view of the Union, the Constitution, and good citizenship that is an important part of American political thought today.
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published January 1st 1970 by Applewood Books (first published July 17th 1913)
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John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The greatest speech from the greatest President.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Jason by: "Today in history" in the newspaper
Shelves: fun-size, 2016, history
Read in The Constitution of the United States of America and Selected Writings of the Founding Fathers.

Five stars for content, but I had some problems with it so it's getting three instead. Today is the 220th anniversary of this being published in newspapers across the country (though my book has September 17th, 1796 above the address), so I decided to read it to smarten myself up a bit.

This was written by Madison with additions from Hamilton, and they will insist on using 100 words when 10 woul
Lisa N
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Parting wisdom from one of history’s greatest statesmen. I wish I could take the time to give this the review it deserves, but these are some of his key points:

Advocates strong, united government
“Moderate the fury of party spirit”
Pay off debt during times of peace
Necessity of checks and balances
Religion and morality are necessary for government

A couple of key passages--

“Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian.”

“Of all the
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Good advice from the Father of our country. And that advice is so easy to follow if one just keeps it in mind when passions are inflamed. A good time for a re-read.

..."This government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, adult
A Fascinating Exploration of the Role of Government in American History

In overviews of American history, Washington's farewell address is characterized by admonitions against political parties and for an isolationist model of international relations. The address itself is actually more nuanced than that. Where he discourages "the fury of party spirit," he also specifically warns against "characterizing the parties by Geographical discriminations," as doing so invites individuals to sow division
Marcelo Abritta
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
When did politics shifted from this beautiful writting of moderate thoughts to a challenge about who can shout the loudest??
Paul Haspel
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George Washington, an innovator and originator in so many ways, established many traditions of the American presidency, an office that he was the first to occupy under the modern American constitutional system. One of the presidential traditions that he established – one followed by every subsequent president except for Franklin D. Roosevelt, and now codified into law – was that of serving two terms in office, and no more. Another tradition – one followed by some presidents, but by no means all ...more
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is politics made poetic, a short treatise written with beauty of word and carefulness of thought, from unprecedented experience and virgin love of country. Lyrical are these words, expansive yet poetic all the same. The actions suggested or implored beseech one country, under God, to realize the ambitions and potential inherent in an infant nation. How amazed would be Geo Washington, though saddened so greatly by the Civil War and politics of late, to see what has been wrought and endured.

Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A difficult read. I would love to see this translated into modern english.

This is, perhaps, the most important speech ever given by a President of The United States of America. It seems bold, but only because it reveals how far we have strayed from the path, even the vision, that George Washington had for this country.

In a time when partisan politics threaten to tear us apart, this address can remind us of the wisdom that we were offered in old times, but didn't accept. Yet, we still could, if
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Struck by how spot on Washington's concerns were for potential pitfalls that can undermine democracy. One that stands out as particularly relevant today is how corrosive the human tendency to place party or splintered geographic interests ahead of the union. "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 destroy the "very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion".

Apr 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Washington humbly gave parting advice to Americans. He advised that virtue and morality are necessary to a freedom. He warned against those who would undermine the Constitution and recommended avoiding political parties and permanent alliances with any foreign nation. Unity was key. Did he for see the Civil War? Maybe. For sure he saw a lot of rivalries and discord in his time. He was a classy man of character who demonstrated great leadership. He truly wanted what was best for his country and s ...more
Mar 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What a humble man. He deeply cares for the people and states his worries for the future of the country. He is very against political parties because they tend to divide the nation and not allow us to work together for the greater cause. He foresaw many things that could go wrong with our country; some of which have already occured.
Sep 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pre-2004, 2006, 2009
The advice Washington gives is timeless. Each citizen should study and understand what he said. Every politician should reread this right before they take their sacred oath to defend the U.S. Constitution so they would get a glimpse of what they ought to be doing. In fact, every politician shouldn't go to work each day until they have read it each morning.
Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Washington was a president that had just about everything right. Since this was not written mainly by him but these were his ideas nonetheless this is a great work. Anyone interested in American politics and/or Foreign Policy should read this. It hits at the heart of what America was built on and how far we have strayed.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful advice from the first president of this great experiment to the future. He expressed the importance of being United, the perils of party, the concerns of being too cozy with foreign states and the need for educated and enlightened citizens. A good reminder of the hope our founders had for this country.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, american
Washington’s “Farewell Address” advocates strong, united government, moderating “fury of party spirit”, paying off debt during times of peace, necessity of checks and balances, and teaches that religion and morality are necessary for government.
Some very powerful lines that show Washington as completely dedicated to the service of the country he helped to create, rather than asking the country to serve him. We need more leaders like our Founding Fathers.
Jan 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Probably beautifully written at the time, but rather stiff and formal today. Still, some very interesting advice on how to live in a republic which is still pertinent.
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. His parting hopes for a solid republic: no foreign alliances, and no divisive political parties. His principles, voice, and warning is still current today.
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
With this being an election year, I'm drawn more than usual to history and events that shaped our nation. Having read this, I'm interested to read other farewell addresses.
Andrew Ziegler
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While hard to digest at times this was quite an informative piece. I definitely believe there are problems with parties which need to be addressed if not abolished all together. What Washington says about them has come to pass in a way; parties today are completely out of hand you would assume there would be debate on some issues, however, there are things that should never be ignored. Devos becoming head of the education department was clearly only because of the party system. Since when did Co ...more
Clinton Shatzer
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of George. The sacrifices that he made for our country are truly extraordinary. If not for him, we would have certainly continued our association with the British Empire and ended up with an international status similar to Canada. This is his final public statement (not really an address because he never gave it as a speech; it was issued as a press release) and showcases Washington's power of communication. Many of his observations are still relevant today. One example: describi ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are two sentiments in this well-known piece which echo through the years -- the first is of the national hero who yet manages to apologise for whatever he may have done wrong, and the second is of his eternal wish to be equal to every other person in his nation. 

Yet, for the modern reader a lot of the pamphlet is barely understandable -- who now has heard of the conflicts between the USA and France in the 1790's? I have a good grounding at this point for I just read Hamilton's biography an
Renae Roehl
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a difficult read, but so applicable to today’s political climate. Washington specifically warns against a two-party system, saying it gives the wrong people a chance to rise to power. He is so humble, he assumes he “committed many errors,” though he is unaware of them, and asks his nation to “view them with indulgence” after his lifetime of service. If our elected officials led with humility, perhaps our nation would be held in better regard throughout the world. If all our leaders witn ...more
David Shaffer
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
We have heard for years what Washington's philosophy was but this brief farewell address to the country, provides a insight into what it actually was. Washington wanted us to avoid the fracturing caused by political parties and while not actually using those words, wanted us to avoid foreign entanglements and instead do our best both commercially and militarily to remain neutral, to bide time for the country to mature and maintain trade with all. Definitely something we should all read to have a ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read

All persons that seek public office and the confidence of the citizens they seek to serve, should consider this book a prerequisite. Our first president was our finest!

Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, classics
So refreshing to read.

If only Trump would read the section regarding foreign governments...
Siraaj Khandkar
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Remarkably, as relevant today as it ever was!
Charles Roberts
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Born in 1732 into a Virginia planter family, he learned the morals, manners, and body of knowledge requisite for an 18th century Virginia gentleman.

He pursued two intertwined interests: military arts and western expansion. At 16 he helped survey Shenandoah lands for Thomas, Lord Fairfax. Commissioned a lieutenant colonel in 1754, he fought the first skirmishes of what grew into the French and Indi

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