George Washington’s Farewell Address

When George Washington decided to not run for office again, he wrote a farewell address in which he urged people to be wary of threats to their peace and liberty. He was remarkably prescient in warning against special interest groups who might influence Congress and ultimately co-opt our government for their own.

On page 10, he warns against “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.”

Pages 12 through 16 are particularly apt. I urge you to read those pages at least, if you don’t have time to read the whole of it. Here is page 14 in its entirety:

“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations under whatever plausible character with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. 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 councils 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.”

Read that carefully, bearing in mind the immense power that big-business lobbyists can wield, then send a letter to your elected representatives with a copy of that page and urge them to resist such influences.

On pages 16 and 17, he speaks of the dangers of becoming overzealous in considering one party (and therefore its adherents) to be superior to another.

It became a tradition for the US Senate to read the farewell address each year. A different senator is chosen to have the honor of reading the address to the Senate, after which he or she signs a leather-bound notebook. Initially, the signaure was just an acknowledgement of having read it; later, it became tradition to add notes or comments. This page provides links to actual scans of a number of those comments; just taking a look at the handwriting alone is interesting, but so also are the comments themselves.

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About marinamichaels

Clear and compassionate psychic, excellent writer, top-notch mother, card-carrying genius, humble and modest to boot. What else can I say? Loving everything without losing sight of reality.
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