"The Baneful Effects Of The Spirit Of Party"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In this address George Washington informs the people of the United States of his resolution to decline consideration for a third term as President. Assuring his constituents of his continued zeal for this new government, he reaffirms his faith in a free constitution, noting that "the happiness of the people of these states, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing as will require to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it." Stressing the concept of unity as the means by which the American people have been able to triumph over superior odds, the President voices his objection to the development of a two-party political system. "Let me," he says,

". . . warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party, generally. . . .
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension . . . is itself a frightful despotism.–The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an Individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty."