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GEORGE WASHINGTON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES This address was written primarily to eliminate himself as a candidate for a third term. It was never read by the President in public, but it was printed in Claypoole's AMERICAN DAILY ADVERTISER, Philadelphia, September 19, 1796. The address is in two parts: In the first, Washington declines a third term, gives his reasons, and acknowledges a debt of gratitude for the honors conferred upon him and for the confident support of the people. In the second more important part, he presents, as a result of his experience and as a last legacy of advice, thoughts upon the government. George Washington gave Claypoole a manuscript which he called "his copy" and it was from this manuscript that the type was set in the newspaper. After Claypoole's death, the manuscript was ordered to be sold at auction on February 12, 1850. Senator Henry Clay on January 24 offered a joint resolution for its purchase by the government, but the resolution was not signed by President Taylor until the day of the sale. The manuscript was sold to James Lenox for $2,300, and passed, with his library, to the New York Public Library. There is no evidence of any bid on behalf of the national government. The following is an exact word for word text of the original. Nothing has been changed or omitted except old English spelling and punctuation.
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FAREWELL ADDRESS (1796) George Washington George Washington had been the obvious choice to be the first president of the United States, and indeed, many people had supported ratification of the Constitution on the assumption that Washington would be the head of the new government. By all measures, Washington proved himself a capable, even a great, president, helping to shape the new government and leading the country skillfully through several crises, both foreign and domestic. Washington, like many of his contemporaries, did not understand or believe in political parties, and saw them as fractious agencies subversive of domestic tranquility. When political parties began forming during his administration, and in direct response to some of his policies, he failed to comprehend that parties would be the chief device through which the American people would debate and resolve major public issues. It was his fear of what parties would do to the nation that led Washington to draft his Farewell Address. The two parties that developed in the early 1790s were the Federalists, who supported the economic and foreign policies of the Washington administration, and the Jeffersonian Republicans, who in large measure opposed them. The Federalists backed Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton's plan for a central bank and a tariff and tax policy that would promote domestic manufacturing; the Jeffersonians opposed the strong government inherent in the Hamiltonian plan, and favored farmers as opposed to manufacturers. In foreign affairs, both sides wanted the United States to remain neutral in the growing controversies between
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