Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Washington's Farewell Address and its origins

Over at the The University Bookman online, John Bowling has published an article outlining some of the history behind one of the greatest statements of American domestic and foreign policy ever made:  The Farewell Address Revisited.  As Bowling points out, President Washington's address wasn't solely the work of our first and greatest president, but was also the work of two other Founding Fathers as well, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.  That said, Washington was actively involved in the composition of the text, so much so that it is clear that he is its actual author, as the textual history of the address demonstrates.  As Bowling puts it:
It is fortunate that all the working drafts of the Address have survived, down to interlinings and inkblots, so that Washington’s primary authorship is categorically clear. Hamilton did not write it. Washington did, to a far greater extent than any contemporary American President since Calvin Coolidge.
Washington's advice regarding foreign policy and his heart-felt sentiments regarding the Union and liberty are well worth pondering, and Bowling does an excellent job explaining the structure and content of Washington's ideas as expressed in the address.  Well worth a read.

(Cross-posted over at my own blog, Ordered Liberty.)

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