George Washington is rightfully considered one of the key figures in the history of the United States, which makes his farewell speech all the more important as the wisdom by which the following generations of Americans would live. At its core, the message that Washington sent was quite simple, yet incredibly powerful and memorable. Namely, by emphasizing the significance of unity and the necessity to collaborate even in the face of conflicts and disagreements, George Washington’s “Farewell Address” defined the core of American nation’s strength. However, despite its clarity and intuitively understandable logic behind it, the core message of the “Farewell Address” could potentially be lost in the present-day public discourse due to the shift in focus and the pursuit of personal goals rather than those of the community.
The notions of unity and collaboration as the central ideas in Washington’s “Farewell Address” appear to be the dominant concepts that Washington seeks to promote to American citizens. Indeed, the speech sounds especially inspirational as the concepts of unity and cooperation are mentioned: “so prudent a use of this blessing as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation which is yet a stranger to it” (Washington, 1796, para. 6). Though Washington does not mention the concept of unity directly in this statement, he implies it heavily, focusing on the idea of accepting a homogenous standard of collaboration.
Thus, for Washington, the idea of cooperation and unity seems to be the concept of paramount importance to the very existence of the American nation and American democracy. The significance of upholding to the traditions of democracy can also be seen in his effort to preserve the unity of the American government: “The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you” (Washington, 1796, para. 9). Though the specified perspective could be seen as overly idealistic, it is an admittedly important notion that has retained its relevance for the modern community.
However, when considering present-day American society and especially the political representation of American citizens’ perspectives, one will notice significant hostility toward one another among the members of the opposing camps. Indeed, studies and reports show that the extent of political tension within the present-day American community has reached tremendous proportions (Washington, 1796). Therefore, it appears that complying with the message sent to future generations by George Washington appears to have been quite challenging. Nevertheless, the continuous struggle to promote unity and cooperation as opposed to militant behaviors and continuous discord within American society have been quite noticeable (Washington, 1796). With the emergence of opportunities for discussing political issues on social platforms, chances for reaching an agreement or, at worst, a compromise have emerged.
Due to the changes in the political discourse within the U.S., as well as alterations within the social context and the emergence of multiple points of contest and disagreement, the principles promoted in Washington’s “Farewell Address” might seem to have been forgotten. However, it would also be wrong to believe that Washington’s exhortations have been completely abandoned in the present-day sociopolitical setting. Specifically, the importance of unity and patriotism is emphasized as a part of American people’s identity. Therefore, while the focus on collaboration has been slightly shifted, the importance of the feeling of belonging to the American community and the related patriotic feelings are still essential parts of the American political community. Nonetheless, further efforts must be undertaken to promote togetherness within U.S. society to ensure its safety.
Washington, G. (1796). Farewell address. OurDocuments.gov. Web.