George Washington Essay

The shift of power in the late 1790’s by the Federalists can be attributed to different factor that had caused such incidents. In understanding this loss, the fall from power does not revolve around the hold of the government. Rather, it is the shift of ideas and reshaping of new interests that had led to the split of views among the American public and the rise of a new group who had a different view with the dominant Federalists.

These changes began to manifest itself during George Washington’s tenure as president. Under his control, he had established a capable cabinet to address the current hurdles and obstacles surrounding American society during that time (Intelecom, n.d.). On one side, we can see Alexander Hamilton who seeks to redefine America’s policies and improve on the economy. On the other hand, his secretary of State; Thomas Jefferson, sees these scenarios as too much for central control.

There are several issues surrounding this debate between Jefferson and Hamilton. Since the impeding issues of economic problems surrounding the country, there is now an argument surrounding creating a centralized bank that will facilitate these economic issues. However, this was hindered by Jefferson because such creation can undermine the overall capacity of the state to act on these problems (Intelcom, n.d.).

At the same time, there is the issue surrounding national debt. Again, there are contrasting views surrounding its resolution. For the part of Jefferson, it is essential that the state pay off these debts and restart with policies that are debt-free which can in turn benefit the whole of the people. On the other hand, for Hamilton he believes that these debts should be hold on by the government. After this, he thinks to centralize these debt systems which shall be facilitated by the national treasury (Intelcom, n.d.).

Though there were several arguments that have made a split in Washington’s cabinet, there was one important consolidation among the actors involved. This was choosing the appropriate capital for the central government. In here, it can be argued that Jefferson advocated the transfer of the central office to now Washington D.C. so as to prevent too much control of Federalists in a specific location. That is why choosing a neutral ground is an outcome that both parties especially Jefferson wanted (Intelcom, n.d.).

Seeing these developments during the tenure of George Washington, the decline of Federalists power became evident during the formation of individuals who sought to control the level of centralization among other groups. Thus, this started the formation of the Republican Party and showcased a new wave towards redefining views concerning society, politics, and the economy (Intelcom, n.d.).

This rise of the Republican party manifested itself after the presidency of George Washington in 1897.Though the head of office was gained by the Federalists, the vice-presidential position was attained by a member of the Republican party; Thomas Jefferson. Seeing this development, the country then saw for the first time two leaders who share opposing views concerning running a country. Such split is one indication of the end of the Federalists grasp of American politics.

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In the end, the loss of power and control of the Federalist Party resulted in different and contrasting views concerning political and economic politics. With the development of the Republican Party, it allowed the American public to have a choice on important and vital issues surrounding policies on domestic and foreign policy. Such idea catapulted a new wave of how politics and issues are addressed and administered by members of the government.


Intelecom (n.d.) Power Struggle Between Federalists and Republicans. Retrieved March 7, 2009


Intelecom (n.d.) The Presidential Election of 1976. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from, Washington faced many challenges during his presidency. Some of these challenges were difficulty of setting up a new government, domestic difficulties, and foreign affairs. He had a hard eight years of presidency but he mostly resolved all the problems.

One of his challenges was setting up a new government. This was hard because people just revolted against their last form of government. They revolted against their last government because taxation was a major issue. Collecting federal taxes as a tricky issue. The whiskey rebellion was a rebellion over the tax on alcoholic beverages such as whiskey. Washington wanted to stop the rebellion by establishing power of the federal government to keep order and collect taxes. Another issue that relates to this is paying off war caused by most colonies.

Another challenge was Domestic difficulties. Years of war had not whatsoever helped the US economy. Most of these people were facing very hard times. The Constitution did not receive accepted support. And the Colonies were used to dealing with their own affairs. The conflict between colonies rights and the Federal government’s power was more legit and significant than ever. There was a lot of fear about a new Revolution which formed more circumscriptions on personal freedom than ever. Two political factions appeared even within Washington’s cabinet.

One last issue was foreign affairs. There were potential problems with France and Great Britain on top of gaining respect from Europe for the beginning of a new government. Also, the British had not removed there soldiers from the northwest of the United States. They also supplied weapons and support to the Indians in their resistance to the settlers. Louisiana and Florida were controlled by the French and British along with all of the land west and south. Spain and Britain wanted to colonize North America and they made no effort to secretize it.

George Washington had many challenges during his Presidency such as, difficulty of setting up a new government, domestic difficulties, and foreign affairs. Although this was hard George Washington managed to take care of it. George Washington clearly faced many challenges.

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George Washington Essay

It has often been said that the entire ordeal leading up the American Revolution occurred as a direct result of two sides not having a common understanding. In fact, this simple interpretation of the more complicated problem might not completely explain everything that happened leading up to and during the Revolutionary War, but it can be used as an explanation for the rift in thinking that ultimately kept the two sides apart on a theoretical level. The British, for the most part, misunderstood what the colonists were looking for in their striving for freedom.

The colonists, on the other hand, held a fighting spirit that could not easily be understood by people who were not there to experience it on a day-to-day basis. Two prominent thinkers from either side, George Washington and Edmund Burke, laid out their opinions on the matter in easy to understand terms. Their writings represent an interesting dichotomy. Burke, for the most part, understood what was going on in the colonies. Washington took an approach of broad support for his countrymen, which was representative of the patriotic spirit that permeated the time.

Though Washington could never be accused of being a person that liked to get his hands too muddy in the political arena, he did have a pretty firm grasp on the overall feeling of the American people at that time. When he writes to George William Fairfax and Bryan Fairfax in a series of 1774 letters, Washington makes it very clear that he believes the country is ready to stand as one in the face of British opposition. Washington was a calculated man and one that was certainly not quick to jump to any conclusions without first investigating the other options.

In his letter to Bryan Fairfax, Washington gives a clear indication of this and further makes indication that he believes all of his options to be expended. When he writes, “Shall we, after this, whine and cry for relief, when we have already tried it in vain,” Washington clearly indicates that perhaps, making requests of the British government is not enough anymore. To George Washington, Boston was only the breaking point in a conflict that had been long overdue.

The plight of Boston was the plight of American and the conflict had arrived because, simply put, they had no other choice but to put up a fight. Though Washington was quick to lend his support to the folks in Boston, he was not fully supportive of their means. Though he agreed that perhaps what they did was necessary, he did not completely approve of how they went about things. As mentioned before, Washington was a calculated individual in every way. He hoped for people to take all options into account before making rash decisions.

When the people of Boston opted to toss pounds and pounds of tea into the harbor, they were not making the most responsible decision, but they were making a statement. Washington could respect that statement and the stand that they had the guts to take, even if he did not undyingly support their actions. Washington wrote, “The conduct of the Boston people could not justify the rigor of their measures. ” Still, he goes on to qualify that statement later in his letter. He indicates that sometimes, measures such as those are necessary when people will not take others seriously or respect their requests.

To Washington, the main point was that a stand had to be taken somewhere, so he wasn’t angry that the people of Boston made that statement. In fact, he was happy with the idea of having a rallying point around which the colonists could congregate. From the British side of things, Edmund Burke took a slightly more contradictory approach with his thinking. He was a well respected British political mind. During that time, most well respected British minds wanted to use force and not concede anything to the colonists.

Those people did not understand what motivated the colonists and certainly did not understand the passion with which colonists wanted to rid themselves of foul treatment. In short, most British political people, who were all of the way across the Atlantic Ocean, had no idea how bad they American colonists wanted it. Burke got it, however. He knew exactly what the colonists wanted and he understood how to motivate them. Edmund Burke’s primary assertion was that the British government was going about things all wrong.

Like Washington, Burke was a very influential and deep thinker. He did not like to act without first thinking through all of the different scenarios that might take place. With that in mind, Burke wanted the British government to work with the American colonists, as opposed to working against them as they had been set on doing. He thought it was a good idea to promote reconciliation between the two sides because, in his mind, that was the only way to shut down the fighting spirit of the American colonists.

When the British government pushed the Americans into a corner, they banded together and they came out fighting. This is evidenced by Washington’s comments about the Boston Tea Party. Burke also wanted to push for reconciliation because he understood the fact that Great Britain had to have some sort of working relationship with the colonies in the future. They could not make everyone in the colonies mad. In his speech to Parliament on March 22, 1775, Edmund Burke says, “Because after all our struggle, whether we will or not, we must govern America.

” That was Burke’s primary point throughout the entirety of this speech. Win, lose, or draw, the British government had to keep the relationship with the colonies on good footing, or else there would eventually be a conflict to face. In addition to plenty of other things, Burke understood the nature of the American people. He also understood that the British government did not understand the nature of the American colonists. He knew that Great Britain had to keep that in mind if they wanted to be successful in making the American colonies listen to their rules.

A fighting spirit was engrained in the American people and that was something that would not go away. In that same speech to the British Parliament, Burke let his partners in the room know that the American colonists were a fighting bunch. “In this character of the Americans, a love of Freedom is the predominating feature which marks and distinguishes the whole. ” If the British government could not understand that, then according to Burke, they had no chance of exacting any change among the colonists themselves.

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This basic rift in understanding is the one factor that, according to Edmund Burke, would keep the British government from creating any change. Washing and Burke were on different sides, but they were very similar men. They both understood people and they understood what it took to motivate people. While Washington was a unifying voice in America, Burke served as a voice of reason in Great Britain. Their specific messages were different, but they were equally important to their respective nations.The reaction of the modern reader to George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address might well be amazement coupled with awe. And justifiably so — as Washington’s remarks has proven to be not only eloquent, but startlingly prescient, regarding the challenges that the American constitution and American Democracy would likely face during its immediate, post-revolutioin future, as well as its far-flung future, which includes the political turbulence of the present day.

The sensitive reader would also, no doubt, reach the conclusion that America would be in a far stronger and much more authentically democratic state had Washington’s perceptive Farewell Address been taken heed of by those who followed in his footsteps. Foremost among the many important assertions made by Washington in the Farewell Address is the concept that American principles and the tenants which inform the American government are cultural traditions that tie together very different geographical, political, and economic concerns.

Therefore, according to Washington, the greatest threat to America lies in the erosion or perversion of the cultural ties which bind these disparate parts together. this cultural association is, of course, a tradition of liberty and individual pursuit of happiness which is directly expressed in the democratic form of government itself.

However,beyond laws and government institutions there must be a shared allegiance in hallowing the principles behind the laws because the laws, even the constitution itself, Washington warns, may be susceptible to manipulation and self-interest: “one method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. ” (Fitzpatrick, 1931, p. 225) Washington’s emphasis on the need for Americans to cherish and revere their liberty and their democratic institutions cannot possibly be overstated.

It is the primary thrust behind nearly all of his admonishments and advice to the nation in his Farewell Address. The core of his belief was in the principles rather than the institutions of laws of the American democracy and he urged all Americans to share this important reverence and vision: “you should cherish a cordial, habitual and immoveable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety” (Fitzpatrick, 1931, p. 219).

The unity of reverence for democratic traditions and democratic institutions ties directly to Washington’s emphasis on preserving the wholeness of of and mutual sustenance of the various states of the Union. In a particularly prescient observation, Washington mentions the tensions and also mutual benefits that exist between the geographically apportioned states of the Union, foreshadowing through intensely optimistic language, the American Civil War that would take place more than a century later:

“The North, in an unrestrained, intercourse with the South protected by the equal Laws of a common government, finds in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of Maratime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South in the same Intercourse, benefitting by the Agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. (Fitzpatrick, 1931, p. 220)

His comments which follow upon this statement stress the urgency of preventing geographical identities or grievances to disrupt the unity of the nation. He warns: “In contemplating the causes which. may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by Geographical discriminations” (Fitzpatrick, 1931, p. 223) which is, of course, precisely what occurred during the events leading up to the American Civil War.

Washington’s vision of unity extended beyond geographical realms to the realms of the merely political. In noting that the same kind of “local” or even personal interests that threatened geographical division within the Union, could also manifest themselves within the government itself, based in political parties and the aspirations of those who controlled them. Washington warns that “the alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissention,” (Fitzpatrick, 1931, p.

227) presents a very real threat to American democracy not only for its obvious divisive capacities, but because of the fact that when people become deeply and openly divided, “The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an Individual” (Fitzpatrick, 1931, p. 227) which leads to Autocracy and the complete overthrowing of American Democracy.

Because the unity of American society depends so intensely upon the integrity of democratic traditions and beliefs and not merely laws or legislation, Washington’s concept of the public as the nation’s most important “trust” rests, also, on the notion of cultivating the public with an eye toward enabling, rather the obstructing, the will of the people. In this acknowledgment, issues of war and peace, economic issues, and cultural issues all play pivotal roles in maintaining the traditions of American democracy.

Washington notes that “One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible: avoiding occasions of expence by cultivating peace,” (Fitzpatrick, 1931, p. 230) or, in other words, enabling a widespread feeling of participation and accomplishment to be held by the nation which embraces prosperity and peace. For Washington, prosperity and peace remained deeply intertwined and hoped-for states: one follows the other.

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This belief, among Washington’s many observations and admonishments, infuses Washington’s Farewell Address with an uncanny historical prescience which seems almost chillingly appropriate to present era of global politics. Warfare and conflict should be avoided and the avoidance of such catastrophes is enabled by “good faith and justice towards all Nations” and by America setting an example for the world: “a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a People always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. ” (Fitzpatrick, 1931, p.

231) In fact, more than an eerie premonition about the contemporary global-political situation, Washington’s views on global affairs seem almost too lofty, too idealistic to be taken at face-value by a contemporary observer. However, Washington’s observations do not, to my mind, cloak a deeper, perhaps more cynical vision. Rather, the ideas and concepts expressed in Washington’s Farewell Address seem to speak of an era when such “loftiness” of ideals and such idealism and faith were not viewed as weaknesses, but as the accouterments of the most powerful and most decisive of minds.

The cumulative impact of reading Washington’s Farewell Address and refraining from “spinning” the words to mean something less-incisive, less idealistic, or less passionate, is one of grim admiration and perhaps a bit of wistfulness for the time when national leaders believed deeply enough inn the principles of American democracy to hold these as the highest of ideals: above personal ambition, above global supremacy, above military might, and even above the institutions of government itself.

In final analysis, there is no doubt that America would be stronger, more prosperous nation had Washington’s brilliant observations and advice been heeded in earnest by the successive generations of law-makers and public officials. One can, of course, easily imagine counterpoints to most of Washington’s ideas; these counter-ideas have, in fact, directly infused and directed American domestic and foreign policy for the better part of the past ten years.

To describe them point by point would require a voluminous amount of reflection, annotation, and writing. As easy as it is to imagine counter-arguments to Washington’s vision as it is expressed in his Farewell Address, it is equally easy to imagine an America which did follow the precepts laid out by Washington.

A nation which, by simply adhering to the idea that democratic ideals are more important adn more crucial to individual liberty than the apparatus of government or the leaders who are supposed to serve government, Washington offered an almost spiritual vision of American democracy which, in the light of contemporary experience, seems to have — despite its urgency, wisdom, prescience, and eloquence — has fallen on deaf ears. Reference Fitzpatrick, J. C. (Ed. ). (1931). The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799 (Vol. 35). Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office.

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