George Washington’s Farewell Address
In 1796, Washington created his Farewell Address as a plan of action for our nation. His Farewell Address tries to help us fix problems we have a hard time controlling, such as paying for things we can’t afford which leads us into to more national debt. Washington tried his best to help the United States.
He cared very much about the future of America. That’s why he created the Farewell Address and was courteous with his serving time. Washington’s Farewell Address outlined a plan for the United States; however, throughout American History, Americans did not go by this plan, which led to many problems. These problems include struggling with national unity, increasing national debt, and decreasing morality in law over the past 220 years.
Washington wanted national unity. He wanted the United States to stand strong together instead of against each other, even if we don’t agree on things. The political parties, Republicans and Democrats, have caused us to separate and go against each other. Republicans have more moderate views while Democrats are known to have more liberal views. Because they do not agree with each other on important issues, the two parties often fight. This has caused our government to set bad precedents for our country. Because the political parties have set the mentality that we should go against each other, we tell others what to do. This leads us to fighting about laws and morals. For example, our country fights about immigration laws. Some believe that we should let immigrants in, and others think that we should keep them out. This causes us to fight, and sometimes it gets out of hand. Instead of simple peaceful protests, civilians will get violent. This can lead to gun violence and even death. A fair amount of racism is caused by this divide over immigration, causing some people to believe that immigrants create more crime than natural-born citizens. These immigrants (people from Mexico, the Middle East, and more) are then discriminated against, which again, can lead to violence. Washington didn’t want our country to break out in war with each other. Sometimes, people are accused of crimes they did not commit just because of the color of their skin. In the book The Great Divide, Geoffrey Layman states [a] snapshot of the 1992 national conventions suggests that the two major political parties in the United States have become participants in a new form of religious and cultural conflict that scholars, journalists, activists, and politicians have labeled America’s ‘culture war’ (Layman 2-3). Instead, Washington wanted [t]he unity of government, which would help us show that we can stand together, not fight about laws and morals.
Washington didn’t want the United States to fall into the trap of debt. Washington made it very clear and understandable that it can be easy to fall into debt. He gave us solutions to prevent us from going down the wrong path. We did not take Washington’s advice, and now we are in debt by 15 trillion dollars. This has created a negative effect on the United States. We buy things we can’t afford which leads our country into even more debt. United States citizens aren’t paying their debt, so overtime their debt payment increases even more. Peter Diamond teaches about this in his article National Debt in a Neoclassical Growth Model by writing: The taxes employed to finance interest costs will be assumed to be lump-sum taxes on the younger generation (Diamond 1137). As of this day, our debt is steadily increasing. Although new government officials have helped to slow our debt usage, our interest is continuing to roll-over and accumulate into more ultimately being borrowed. If we do not pay our debt, it gets passed down to the next generation and gets even larger. Washington warned us about this problem in his Farewell Address.
George Washington wanted the nation to have good morality. He wanted us to have respect for others and stand up for each other. One of the things that causes our nation to lose respect and value for others is social media; it causes everything to change around us. Social media is very fake, but people choose to believe what other people say. We use the internet to put others down, for example, people running in elections have advertisements that ruin their opponents’ reputation. This has negatively affected us because now people are putting others down. Washington just wanted to show us that we should value the lives of others and show people sympathy. Nowadays, we judge people by their lifestyle choices, where they live, and their race; that’s what causes us to argue and riot for things we believe in. Even in the case of Worcester v. Georgia, people were treated unfairly because of the color of their skin. Joseph C. Burke reports in his essay The Cherokee Cases: A Study in Law, Politics, and Morality, … the President of the United States, who had encouraged – or at least winked at – this outrage, now seemed prepared to stand by and watch the state defy the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States (Burke 1). Washington wanted us to see others for who they are, not what society sees them as. We failed at following Washington’s rules, and it’s resulted in many problems in our society.
Throughout American History, Americans did not go by the plan Washington made in his Farewell Address, which led to many problems. The government has caused us to argue because the political parties have allowed us to control each other. Our debt has increased every year, and we have brought this upon ourselves. We are too fast to judge, and we don’t give others a chance to express what they want or feel. America could change by following his plan now; there is still a chance to change if we actually put effort and time into changing our ways. We could listen to George Washington and become a unified state and get rid of the two party system. Instead, voters should only choose officials that follow their morals, not their party. People will always argue, but we need to remember that standing together will make us stronger than if we stand against each other. As the old saying goes: United we stand, divided we fall.
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