Religion In George Washington's Farewell Address

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In his farewell address, George Washington outlines the importance of religion to the maintenance of American ideals and, therefore, the new American government. Washington describes religion as a means to an end. In his view, all morality stems from religion. Because moral behavior is necessary for the survival of the American system, religion itself is the vehicle by which a moral society and government will be achieved. Washington’s argues for religion in American society from a principled and a pragmatic context. Washington claims religion is a prerequisite for patriotism. Without religion, oaths sworn on the Bible would bear no weight. In essence, religion and the potential for an afterlife motivate the government (or the people who comprise it) and the governed to act in the best interest of the nation, rather than the individual. Ultimately, Washington’s Farewell invokes religion as the sole basis of morality, the foundation upon which American governance must lie in order to survive. In his farewell, Washington puts forth the idea that the new American government has been religiously ordained. To abandon religion in America’s nascent stage would betray a higher power and,…show more content…
Washington begins with the notion that without religion, there can be no morality. From there, he addresses all of the potential concerns of a nation that lacks moral character to graduate from its infant stage into a more mature society. In his view, Americans must have strong moral character for patriotism to grow and American government to strengthen domestically and internationally. To this end, Washington’s Farewell uses a variety of principled and pragmatic arguments to convince his readers that morality is necessary to prevent the new American government from slipping into the chaos of individual enrichment and European-style
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