George Washington's Farewell Address
George Washington's Farewell
Address announced that he would not seek a third term
as president. Originally published in David C. Claypoole's
American Daily Advertiser on September
19, 1796, Washington devoted much of the address to domestic
issues of the time, warning against the rise of political
parties and sectionalism as a threat to national unity. In
the area of foreign affairs, Washington called for America
"to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion
of the foreign world." Although the ideas expressed were
Washington's, Alexander Hamilton wrote a large part of the
address. James Madison drafted an earlier version of the address
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Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation
The text of Washington's Farewell Address can be found
in the Annals
of Congress and the American
Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1862 recommending
that the American people celebrate Washington's birthday
with public readings of "his immortal Farewell Address."
Washington Papers at the Library of Congress
This collection contains a copy of Washington's Farewell
Address dated September 17, 1796.
Washington's Papers to find additional material related
to Washington's presidency.
James Madison Papers
Toward the end of his first term as president, George
Washington contemplated his retirement and asked James
Madison to assist him in preparing a farewell address.
On May 25, 1792, Madison recounted the substance of his
with Washington concerning his desire to retire from
public life. Subsequently, Madison submitted a draft
of Washington's Farewell Address on June 21, 1792,
which he put aside when Washington agreed to serve a second
27, 1823, Madison responded to a letter written by
Thomas Jefferson (see Thomas Jefferson Papers below) concerning
the authorship of Washington's Farewell Address. In this
letter, Madison discussed Alexander Hamilton's role in
drafting the address.
In 1825, Madison recommended to Jefferson that the Farewell
Address be used in the curriculum being developed at the
Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress
In a letter dated June 12, 1823, Jefferson
wrote to William Johnson with his views on the authorship
of Washington's Farewell Address. Jefferson wrote, "With
respect to his farewell address, to the authorship of
which, it seems, there are conflicting claims, I can state
to you some facts..."
the United States
This online exhibition offers insights into how the
nation’s founding documents were forged and the
role that imagination and vision played in the unprecedented
creative act of forming a self–governing country.
A section on the formation of political parties in the
1790s includes Alexander Hamilton's draft of George
and Founding of the American Republic
This exhibit explores the role that religion played in
the founding of the American colonies, in the shaping
of early American life and politics, and in forming the
American Republic. A section entitled Religion
and the Federal Government contains Alexander Hamilton's
draft of Washington's Farewell Address and a broadside
of the address. In his Farewell Address, Washington advised
his fellow citizens that "Religion and morality"
were the "great Pillars of human happiness, these
firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens."
"National morality," he added, could not exist
"in exclusion of religious principle." "Virtue
or morality," he concluded, as the products of religion,
were "a necessary spring of popular government."
On December 14, 1799, George Washington died at his Mt.
Vernon home after five decades of service to his country.
This page links to Washington's Farewell Address and other
online resources related to Washington.
Draft of George Washington's Farewell Address, New York
Documents, President George Washington's Farewell Address,
National Archives and Records Administration
Papers of George Washington: The Farewell Address, University
George Washington: Farewell Address, PBS
Farewell Address (PDF 252KB; requires Adobe
Acrobat Reader), Government Printing Office
Farewell Address, United States Senate
Gilbert, Felix. To the Farewell Address:
Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1961. [Catalog Record]
Kaufman, Burton Ira, ed. Washington’s
Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century.
Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969. [Catalog Record]
Paltsits, Victor Hugo, ed. Washington’s
Farewell Address in Facsimile, with Transliterations of
all the Drafts of Washington, Madison, & Hamilton; Together
with Their Correspondence and Other Supporting Documents.
New York: The New York Public Library, 1935. [Catalog Record]
Spalding, Matthew, and Patrick J. Garrity. A
Sacred Union of Citizens: George Washington’s Farewell
Address and the American Character. Lanham, Md.:
Rowman & Littlefield, 1996. [Catalog Record]