How did George Washington convey his ideas regarding national unity in his Farewell Address?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The largest area of focus in Washington's Farewell Address was his warning of the rise of factionalized politics in the new country.  Washington saw the rise of political parties in America as a means of division, polarizing discourse and creating a sense of politics where there should be legislation present.  Washington saw the emergence of political parties in his own cabinet where Republican values were being embodied by Jefferson and the Federalist values were finding a home in the thinking of Hamilton.  Washington served as the proverbial glue whose charisma and sense of self were able to keep the nation's interests at the center of his Presidency.  He understood very well that if the nation should devolve into partisan politics, few would be able to think outside of their parties. Washington warned that the rise of factionalized political parties would cast a significant shadow over the nation and its leaders, who would pledge greater allegiance to their parties as opposed to the nation.

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