In September, 1796 George Washington, with a quill feather pen while sitting in his study, wrote a farewell address to the American people. A draft of the letter was initially started in 1792 after the end of his first term in office, but as the newly formed republic began fragmenting and dividing into Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties, President Washington was coaxed into serving another term (and he ran unopposed) in the hopes that he could hold this union together.
The address was later revised in 1796 with the help of Alexander Hamilton. It warned of the grave dangers associated with a representative government being divided into a partisan political process. This is what the only president who was never identified by a party wrote about partisan politics:
“It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration….agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one….against another….it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption…thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”
I don’t know about you, but reading that sends chills up my spine.
Sounds like the current state of affairs alright. And it sounds like the “perfect union” was doomed right from the start, unfortunately.