A Sacred Union of Citizens: George Washington's Farewell Adress and the American Character

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9780847682614: A Sacred Union of Citizens: George Washington's Farewell Adress and the American Character
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One of the most influential but misunderstood expressions of American political thought, George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address is placed in the full context of American history and the authors explain its enduring relevance for the next century. Generations of American political leaders have invoked the authority of the Address to shape foreign and domestic policy. With discussions about national character and personal responsibility dominating the current political landscape, there has been a resurgence of interest in the character of the nation's founders, particularly Washington's. The authors show how the Address expressed Washington's ideas for forming a national character that would cultivate the habits, morals, and civic virtues essential for stable republican self-government.

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One of the most popular words in American politics today is "character." Authors Spalding and Garrity present George Washington not only as a president of impeccable personal credentials, but also as a man who had important lessons for the American people regarding the character of their leaders. These lessons are embodied in his Farewell Address, which is best remembered for its warning against foreign entanglements. Yet it's really a meditation on how a nation can cultivate the habits, morals and civic virtues necessary for stable self-government. Bonus for history buffs: Daniel Boorstin writes the introduction.

About the Author:

Matthew Spalding is a political scientist who works at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Patrick J. Garrity, a foreign policy expert, is currently a visiting fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.

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