Washington's Farewell Address

Breaking News

Editor's note: Today marks the birthday of George Washington, our first nation's president. Every year on February 22, the vice president selects one senator to read Washington's farewell address aloud on the floor of the Senate. Illinois Democrat Sen. Roland Burris was chosen to read the address today.

President George Washington’s Farewell Address was not really an address. Nor was it really a true farewell. The message was printed in a Philadelphia newspaper on September 19, 1796, more than five months before the nation’s first president turned over his office to its second, John Adams.

The document, “in language that was plain and intelligible,” was intended clearly to indicate that Washington was leaving office and that another American must be elected to succeed him. The Farewell was entitled “Friends and Fellow Citizens,” and was addressed directly to the American people – not to members of Congress as most presidential documents were in those days. The paper was designed to be a definitive statement of Washington’s political beliefs and his considered advice for his fellow Americans after two terms in the presidency.

comments powered by Disqus