The first president of the United States of America, George Washington, had drafted a significantly historical address towards his final term as the leader of the country. The president used a strong tone to address the matters in his speech as well as remarkable amount of dictions for strengthening his tone together with representing his appeal to ethos considerably. The major focus of his speech was on helping the country comprehend the significance of maintaining unity, recognizing the increasing number of political parties, strengthening morality and religion, and making his position on the country’s foreign policy clear.
In his address, Washington was more concerned about the unity of the country. He believed that there were individuals both local and foreign that would attempt to divide the nation in order to make them to start doubting that the nation could grow. He told the people to try everything within their means to protect the unity of the country and stop anyone who would want to divide them so as to prevent them from attaining prosperity. In addition, he reminded them that they were all Americans and, thus, should be proud about that. He also told them that they had similar beliefs, objectives and principles, even though they had some small differences because they fought together and won against colonialists and some other enemies.
Furthermore, he said that every part of the country was equally important and that no one could stand on its own without the other. To emphasize his point, he used the example of the North which supports the South by providing them with machines as well as some other products whereas the South supports the North by providing them with crops. The same case is with the East and the West that have a good relationship such as the East being in a good position to protect the country from any foreign attack. He reminded them that disunity among them could give their potential enemies the chance of invading them as they would not be able to fight together (Kaufman, 1969).
On morality and religion, Washington voiced his strong support for them. He talked about how religion is important in attaining morality, hence, stating the significance of religion. He went ahead to talk about the way morality was a major consideration in the election of popular leaders that ran for government positions as well as the importance of stressing morality in the union so as to prevent problems like corruption in the government (Hostetler, 2002).
The president also focused on the way political parties need to be represented. He was of the feeling that political parties appeared to go to dangerous and unwanted lengths in trying to compete with one another and, hence, bring about problems to the administration. He said these in relation to the strong rivalry between the three leading political parties which are the Democratic Party, the Republican Party and the Federalist Party. In his address he employed several rhetorical strategies to pass his message effectively. Diction was also major strategy that he used in the speech. His reason for using strong diction was for the purposes of affirming his position on foreign policy by utilizing terms that strengthened his speech (Malanson, 2015). Washington stressed the way foreign interference was one of the major baneful foes of his administration.
Washington’s speech can be described as being both a political and personal statement. He wrote it directly to the Americans as ‘friends and citizens.’ This shows the significance of his speech and how much he wanted to pass his message to the people of America so that he could leave behind a country on path to prosperity.
- Hostetler, Michael J. (2002). “Washington’s farewell address: Distance as bane and blessing”. Rhetoric & Public Affairs.
- Kaufman, Burton Ira, ed. (1969). Washington’s Farewell Address: The View from the 20th Century. Quadrangle Books.
- Malanson, Jeffrey J. (2015). Addressing America: George Washington’s Farewell and the Making of National Culture, Politics, and Diplomacy, 1796–1852. Kent State University Press.