President George Washington was the first president of the United States. Before he left office, he gave his farewell address, which ‘was never delivered by him’ (P. 1) in person. President Washington had many themes in his farewell address which had key points to each theme. His main themes includes his retirement, how and why he sees the government should be ran is determined by the people, and admitting that he made mistakes.
President Washington’s first main theme was his retirement and how he was not going to run for president any more. He stated that ‘The strength of my inclination to do this,
previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you’ (P. 2) shows that he wanted to give up the presidency before. He gives the impression that if he retired after his first term, if someone else took his place they wouldn’t do what he felt was right for the country. With him being the first president of the United States, he must been going through a lot of pressure not to do anything wrong and wanted to make the United States under England’s power again. President Washington did change his mind because of ‘mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affairs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence, impelled me to abandon the idea.’ (P. 2) If he would retired after the first term, he might have felt like he did not finish his job to the best of his ability. It gives the impression that he might have been feeling pressure under his first term and was not confident for a second term.
The next key point George Washington gave was ‘The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.’ (P. 5) It sounds like he knows the constitution and the government is not perfect and needs fresh ideas sometimes to keep the country strong. He also sated ‘The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.’ (P. 5) With that said, the key point is even if we do not like something in the government, we need to play by the rules and when it is time for election we need do something about it. For example run for office or let the government know that we need to change something weather it is in the government or the laws of the land.
The next key point is when he writes ‘In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.’ (P. 8) President Washington feels like the government needs public opinion to grow into a stronger nation. Without public opinion, how would the government know what the people who voted then in wants out of them? What the government officials thinks is a good idea on paper might not be what the American citizens actually wants in real life. ‘As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit.’ (P. 8) Washington knows that the people needs to be thanked if they have a good idea. Weather it is a good idea or not, the people needs thanks so they do not feel encored or their ideas do not mean a thing.
His final key point President Washington states in his address ‘in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors.'(P. 11) It show the character of President Washington to openly admitting that he make mistakes during his Presidency. He does not want to sound like he is bragging and say he had a perfect administration because he knows he made mistakes. That statement is an example that it sounds like he tries to live by.
George Washington’s purpose of his farewell address was to give his point of view to the citizens. With this farewell address, it gave him a chance to give his point of view on where everything stands in the United States. Reading the farewell address, it sounds like he is trying to help the United States move forward and not look behind. If he did not care, he could have just said that he is done and walked away. This farewell address shows his passion he had for this country. He might have wanted to show the real side of George Washington viruses the side of him that everyone might not get to see for themselves. The address also gives America a great idea how Washington felt about everything that he had in mind versus what they might see or hear from other sources.
As the first President of the United States, President Washington had a lot of pressure to not mess up. Throughout his address he talks he plans on retiring, how he feels like the nation should be in the hands of the people and admitting that he made mistakes. The address gave America a true since on the kind of person he really was. Instead of reading ideas about him that writers in different newspapers had to say about him, this was a good chance for everyone to know the true Washington based on his own words. It takes a person who really cares to take the time to point out all of the things he did in his address.
...(download the rest of the essay above)