Washington’s Farewell Address Essay
Washington’s Farewell Address
Washington had strong objections to sectionalism. He believed that if states acted only independently then the United States would be weaker as a whole. Each area of the country had specific advantages for keeping a close relationship with the other three areas. The biggest advantages had to do with resources, security and less tension within the union. Each area had specific resources to offer the other areas. For example, the North had manufactured goods and the South had agricultural goods. Working together, these goods would cost less and make the country more money through trade. Security was also an issue. Indian attacks and threats from other countries were of great importance, and Washington believed that as a unit we can have the money and the manpower to fend off such attacks.
As a single entity the United States would also have better relationships within the country. If the country divided into separate nations, even if they were allies, allegiances do not always work. Soon enough tension would erupt and with the nations so close to one another, war would be inevitable. Washington felt that the growing popularity of political parties was one way to influence sectionalism. Each region would develop their own political party which would only cater to that region’s needs. The arguing that ensued would tear the country apart and destroy the union. That was why Washington thought sectionalism was a bad idea for the United States.
Washington’s greatest fear as he stepped down from the presidency was the development of political parties in the United States. Washington believed that if anything would ruin the United States, it would be political parties. He believed that whether you lived in the Northern, Southern, Atlantic or Western region of the country determined the party you belonged to. This was proven later to be true. Parties developed out of sectionalism. If each region only cared about their individual needs, then they would only want those needs to be met.
The political party would be born out of this selfishness. Washington feared political parties would create superfluous animosities, open the door for foreign influence, and that the majority would take over all the power. Washington also felt that if one political party got all of the power, then the majority would abuse their rights and push the minority around. To Washington, if political parties got out of hand, then that would weaken the government of the United States.
Washington had very strong objectives on foreign policy. He felt that the United States should be kind to all nations, but not too kind or have any sort of hatred with other nations. If the United States disliked another country, then it would be easier for the two counties to get into a fight. This could cause unnecessary wars with the other country. Washington also did not want to have a “passionate attachment” to another nation. A close relationship could cause draw the United States into that countries war although they have no part in it. It could also cause jealousies among other nations if the United States is favoring one nation.
Washington also feared the current issue of the war between the French and the British. Since both were allies and Americans were siding with either the French or English, it was tearing the public apart. Washington recommended neutrality in all foreign matters that the United States has no part in. This would avoid unnecessary war and keep both alliances when the war ended. Although Washington felt that the United States should be fair, on the other hand personal interest should be first priority.