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George Washington's Farewell Address: Primary Documents in American History

Published on September 19, 1796, George Washington’s Farewell Address announced his retirement and offered his political advice to the country. This guide compiles digital materials, external websites, and a print bibliography related to the address.

Introduction

George Washington's Farewell Address announced that he would not seek a third term as president. Originally published in David C. Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser on September 19, 1796, Washington devoted much of the address to domestic issues of the time, warning against the rise of political parties and sectionalism as a threat to national unity. In the area of foreign affairs, Washington called for America "to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." Although the ideas expressed were Washington's, Alexander Hamilton wrote a large part of the address. James Madison drafted an earlier version of the address in 1792.