Add to Cart failed.
Add to Wish List failed.
Remove from wishlist failed.
Adding to library failed
Follow podcast failed
Unfollow podcast failed
Buy for $24.95
In his presidential Farewell Address of 1796, George Washington presented a series of maxims to guide the construction of a wise foreign policy. He believed, as did generations of his adherents, that if the United States stayed true to the principles he discussed, the country would eventually attain national greatness and international respectability. By focusing on the enduring influence of the Farewell Address on 19th-century Americans, and on their abiding devotion to Washington, Jeffrey Malanson brings the Address back into the spotlight for 21st-century listeners. When citizens gathered in town halls, city commons, and local churches to commemorate Washington, engagement with the Farewell Address was a cornerstone of their celebrations. This annual re-dedication to Washington's principles made the Farewell Address both a framework for the attainment of national happiness and prosperity, and a blueprint for national security.
Through its focus on the diplomatic, political, and cultural impacts of Washington's Farewell Address, Addressing America reasserts the fundamental importance of this critical document to the development of the United States in the first half of the 19th century.
More from the same
What listeners say about Addressing America
Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.
Still relevant today
Many people feared that our democratic experiment would fail and, when we elected a General as our first President, the office would eventually change from a presidency with only the power to execute the will of the Congress to a position of independent authority. Many proclaimed that we had only exchanged one King George for another King George. In Washington’s first term everything was new and and the country was feeling its way in the darkness of that first experiment. There were still many differing opinions (actually, that hasn’t changed much, has it?) and the criticism continued from all sides. At first he didn’t want to stand for another term, but eventually felt that stability was most needed at this time and agreed to run for another term. He was elected, but the debate on both sides of the issue concerning what kind of a union our United States should be. Near the end of the second term, Washington was firm in his decision that, not only did he need a break from the pressure, but that it was best for the Union if he stepped down. He wrote an address to the people which was published in all the newspapers, but was not a speech to Congress or any other group. It was read by basically anyone who could read and read aloud in pubs, societies, and anywhere people might group. It was then that respect for Washington, which always existed even when he was being criticized, grew even more. It was an example of a peaceful transition of power that was previously unheard of. Monarchs lost power when they were overthrown and executed or when they died, and this gave Americans an increased confidence that this ideal could actually work. I think it’s hard for us to imagine how it seemed to people then, this wariness that anyone given the presidency could possibly avoid the temptation to increase their power and struggle to hold on to it. We are used to leaders obediently stepping down when their term ends, but that had been considered a novel idea that many, even those who supported the ideal, thought was naive to imagine. This speech was moving. After Washington’s death, his birthday was made our second national holiday and for decades afterwards, that holiday was celebrated by everyone who could getting together in groups to hear the speech read aloud again. Yet, few Americans today have ever read even a portion of it. This book is about the influence that this speech had on future presidents, the foreign policy that was developed, and the growth of the nation both in land area and power. This book is excellent and so relevant for us today, partly because so much of what Washington said is applicable to us today still. I wish it could be read by every American, along with the speech that it’s about. This will definitely be in my top 10 books for this year, and may be at the top.