tv The Presidency George Washingtons Farewell Address CSPAN November 23, 2021 8:00pm-9:25pm EST
disarming. >> senate aide eastern, on q&a. you can look at this on a new c-span now app. >> i would clichés the presidency highlight the politics, policy and legacy of u.s. presidents and first ladies. coming up, a conversational present george washington's farewell address. it was delivered 205 years ago. featured speakers are historian lindsay and joseph ellis. as well as john. >> good evening everyone, on behalf of george washington, organization with 1850s. we continue to protect and serve it today. i want to welcome you to the conversation of george washington's farewell address. on september 19th, 1796 george washington announced to the role that he would not --
his letter to his friends and citizens offer some of the most thorough, thoughtful and inspiring advice is everybody given to the american people. and more than a few warnings were included there as well. the fear is that remain with us as a nation are discussed and then a few hundred -- much of what we debate and discuss is american politics, it is addressed here and one form or another. and recognition of the 225th anniversary, we got together an incredible lineup to reflect a commentator -- its new day every morning. including the one we will discuss tonight, the washington farewell. the one was abraham lincoln's coming up next february. it's important to our
conversation tonight, an expert on the cabinet, presidential history, government institution. the school of medium public affairs i george russian university. also an opening fellow at the university -- the author of the award-winning book -- george washington in the creation of an american institution. the offer of more than a dozen books, the founding brothers, the revolutionary book award the biography of thomas jefferson. and the cause the american revolution comes out tomorrow. all of our guests are great friends. they offer signed copies of their books.
i like the book in the chat to help you find those. also, feel free. welcome all of you. >> thank you for having us. >> we are here to discuss a really important document in american history. it is the farewell address. i give the tiniest preview of what it is, i just imagine somebody coming into this conversation right now. what is the farewell address? i'll turn to you first. >> it is america's original scripture, it was the most widely printed documents in american history. including the declaration of independence for the first hundred years of the republic. it was the sum total of wisdom with war and peace of president. he put this down working first with alexander hamilton, either
one into his friends and fellow citizens. he feared this could derail the democratic experiment. it is one of the most pressing and relevant documents you can imagine. so, even though it fell out of favor for a time. it is a stark warning about what we would call hyper parts. and then also, it suggests some of the pillars of liberty and things that we drawn to avoid those traps and national unity. the importance of morality, political moderation, it's a nice it's about. >> these are a lot of teams are gonna export. and let me turn to you lindsey. george washington created this texas, although john mention there's other authors.
you mentioned a lot of moments leading up to this. this is the moment he decided not to be president of a longer. set the stage of the last months or days as he's thinking about this address. >> i think the most important he wanted to be in office for a couple of years. he didn't particularly like being president, he had so much stress and pressure. yet that he knew every step -- every poor action, it will be
leading offense while he was aside. he felt very strongly that the american people should -- i could not come through his process of transition. an election, a feasible transport of power. it had to be learned, practicing cultivated. he was currently trying to oversee that. he had said his mind quite firmly it is february in march, in philadelphia they actually argued with the supreme court. they had a conversation about this address. they showed a series of draft over the next couple of months. then they sat on it until september to keep the election season as short as possible. washington finally published it
in september to meet the maximum. say that they would not go to congress another branch of government. >> since we spend most of our time talking about the text, what can you tell me and what would you add about the origin the little to this creation. when you want to share about washington before 1796? >> i would venture to guess that john might contradict me. we know president american history did not want to be president when george washington. not only is on the said he didn't second term, we didn't to first term. money is going up to new york you follow the prisoner going up to jail or execution. and he really meant it. the washington correspondence,
it will have to do with mount vernon. that's where he wanted to be. he really did. all the views of the presidency are shaped by 20th century conception of it. washington did not regard this as the capstone. this is something he wishes he did not have to do. the great thing he had was to win the war. i think it's true for all the presidents first quarter. this is bringing it into the meaning of jefferson with a declaration. madison was the constitutional. all of them didn't think about the presidency as a great moment in their life.
this isn't officially an ottawa exits. bloomberg was refusing to become dictator, and involved more to where the capital was. the surrender of his commission. what they were thinking, he's there. i think jefferson actually wrote the speech in indianapolis for a matter of fact. i can't prove it. one man saved us. they were thinking of cesar -- subsequently, we can think of napoleon. they can think of mao, they can
think of castro. ow, we can think>> we can think a vf leaders and never want to leavef office. i won't mention one that might sullivan reckon politics. but the way lindsey put it, it is ratified as a constitutional 1951 i believe. the real precedents is all leaders,. no matter how indispensable and disposable. you do not die in office like a monarch. that was the real precedent. but i will conclude here let us get on, this was never
delivered as an address. both people already know this, but we haven't mentioned it. it appeared in a philadelphia paper, then in the farewell address. but that initial reaction to the address was, oh my god he can't leave us. the american effort had not existed without him. it was like you're saying you're on your own now. nobody thought he was ever going to retire. and again, they couldn't wait
to get back to a place. >> jim something from indianapolis and you write this in your book. it's not the first bit of advice that washington shared rightly with the nation. can you tell us a little bit about washington back in 1783. how he also shared his guidance to the nation? >> the circular dress to the state, that was to the farewell address. >> wait, i don't know. that is that true? >> yeah. >> true story. what's fascinating about that is first of all there's broad continuity. and most importantly the power of the gesture itself. the simple act of voluntarily relinquishing power itself is revolutionary.
the quote that joe is referring to a perfectly crystallizes washington that particular house culminated. the moderation and virtue of a single character missed revolution being closed best version of the liberty, certainly those are the stakes in 1783 as well. the military leader would select a tyrant and become a tyrant himself so the ancient roman and greet. this was a real sense analysis. his voluntarily relinquishing power to return this far. this is completely genuine. 1783, it is very similar albeit
the prism of the jade treaty. basically, now we need to establish the republic and among other things, maybe it could work in a couple of swiss -- it would never work in a country's biggest 13 colonies. >> he had been fighting this continental congress authored the war because they couldn't find a collective resolve our focus on the common good. they didn't want to levy money. to support the troops. we need to have a promise and
the sense of unity. we need to think a citizens. independence and freedom can be a state of nature. the liberty requires responsibility. that it was lincoln -- 's are, and is finishing a lincoln bug right now. that is what washington said in the 1783 address. >> one of the things they can do tonight to help in certain hours bring up a few of the short quotations people can pull from the farewell address. i'd like to bring up to cause because this advice isn't given before. these are like warnings of a parting friend. no motive for the buys council, then he reminds of this.
this is right after -- i can't remember the exact way, but he is a few paragraphs and says here perhaps i should stop. but then it goes on many more paragraphs to give some serious advice to the american people. when you see places like this, disinterested warning, how does this fit with washington as you've come to study it? >> well, washington wanting to see himself and he gets himself as part of the american people. . he really wanted to represent them, regardless of what their thoughts were. that might be a little bit of rose colored glass-ing the
situation. and by the end of this presidency, he didn't want to admit it. but they were more critical of him. there's domestic rebellions. things like that. but he wanted to see himself as above that. he was certainly the most a political. he's leaving office. they would've been getting for a third term. he really put himself in that elevated position. he claimed at least to be disinterested. even though it wasn't necessarily agreeing with him. and his farewell address, people that are inclined to do better than him so it has
disinterested. some are more inclined to seem as a political actor, they thought it was very political. >> disinterested warnings of a parting friend, how would you read that? >> i agree with lindsey just said. when we build on it a little bit. political parties, the founders as a group might be in washington. -- they were floating through the political atmosphere. -- they say i prefer not to go at all. washington believe that game, i think john adams is the only other president and there is a threat to have --
and so, washington second turn the political scientist was one of the major contributions of founders make political. but it disciplines it it is a good thing. washington and adams were cognitively capable of thinking there is anything other than evil intrusion. he could not seem self as the head of a party. so, you might think he is -- but he is a classical figure. in the second term the aurora. now, look at the textbooks and
say the opposing party that comes into the democratic republican party. well, it's not called the democratic republican party. it's called the republican party. the word democrat and -- it's an epitaph and 18th century. democratic republican doesn't come into existing until the teen 60s. it's tricky because that party morphs into the democratic party. but federals marvin to the wigs in the league met in the public. it's really tricky. it is the version of fox news. and when they publish forged british documents came in that washington there at the war was a traitor and the trendy
benedict arnold got beat to the bench. i mean this was top golf. the people commenting with thomas payne. they hated him, they didn't realize washington got amount. they must all developers imminent death. -- >> which is pretty bound funded by the way because he's an atheist, that is okay. >> that is true, he was. pain, and washington. >> yes, pain, not washington. >> and the level of partisanship in the 17 90s the press, you need to listen to this, there were no rules for the press their newspapers in
the 17 nine days, washington really can't understand it. i think he is hurt by, i think you survived the french and indian war. he should have been killed you know he wasn't even wounded, they wounded him in the second term. he couldn't wait to get out of there. i want to move into the discussion of his attitude towards political partisanship. but i think the calm --
i really explodes on the judiciary. and i will shut up about the supremacy, but the republic that means rest public. a things of the public. the public is different from the people. people are usually misinformed. that is the reason democracy is not a positive term. this function is the act in the public interest even when it is unpopular. adams carries this to an extreme. he is a guy that defends the boston massacre. he always thought of but i do is really unpopular, must be right, you know? he could've won the election of 1800 going to war with france
in refused to do it now if it was a promising he ever did. but the public is a big word here. and washington internalize that one of the reasons they've a six-year term is that they're more likely to be a long term interest of the public. most partisan person of the public. i will shut up about the public, public, public. but if you mention the aurora, if you want to say something. >> one quick thing i want to highlight and talking about how personally wounded on this part of the newspaper editor. so, the editor of the aurora we have three copies. even the washington is not a
subscriber, it did go intentionally get under washington skin. it is brought in cabinet mediums and notes. the sort of political warfare but they are trying to impart. >> let's get a taste of washington's parties here. we can further explore this. this is some of the language, there is much more of an the address. distracting from public council in the feebleness tray shun. it agitates the community the false alarms, it candles animosity one party against another. they will write an insurrection. it will open the door to foreign influence and corruption. the facilitated aspect to the government itself, the channels of the party fashioned. john, first crack at some of this language here. >> leave it up for a second. if i depicted not graph from
today, i think this would be a particularly false alarm. it candles and riots in insurrection. this calendar here, the worst attack in the capital since the war of 1812. it was fueled by misinformation disinformation. it is exacerbated by the parties over the country. meng part against another is based on a lie. perpetrated by then president but amplified through partisan media. amplified via social media who saw an interest in dividing america against itself. it's all there, right there.
george washington warned us, predicted us. especially anybody out there, especially well dressed the actor pretended patron. you know, they really echoed their more patriotic than anybody else. which washington would say is a sin against national unity. if they fit into that stuff that washington warned against, they are part of the problem. you can't pull any punches about that. washington made it very explicit. we just love through evidence of. it could not be more relevant. that's precisely why we need to be listening to the farewell address now and today. we are falling into the trap that he warned us about. you know, almost 250 years ago. >> on to this most recently with regard to the farewell address, when did they start making it mandatory to read the farewell address. was it the full, congress both
houses the senator? >> the senate still reads it every year. >> yes it does. >> how ironic. >> well yeah, i would argue -- >> one is that you're gonna say was, in the wake of the civil war pitching the farewell address, memorizing it is actually part of the public school curriculum. so, it is in people's minds even those easier to memorize the gettysburg address. and world war i for a, lot of interesting reasons it sort of began to say, the original american movement and the run up to world war ii by adopting the farewell address. i think fundamentally, it created a missed impression that it's an isolated document and in the madison square
garden, we will get to that but -- >> lindsey, can you take us back to the 18th century and some of this language. john, giving us a great way to speak to 24 century. but how this is been red in 96. like you, said there's an election just around the corner. >> yeah, i think as john alluded to at the very beginning this isn't intensely partisan when you think of the challenges that we face today in terms of misinformation and disinformation. when you think of all the things, they hadn't done it before. let's not forget the constitution. so, this government already constitutes a second chance of
getting it right. so, one misstep would lead to the nation's -- washington share that fear during the debate that joe mentioned iran's letter back to abigail. either civil war was coming or maybe the constitution would have this so at most. that's really the size of this moment. one of the things that i think is a highlight in the section of the farewell address is that the party animosity the intensity of that can lead us to forget the similarities. we might have regional differences but we actually have much more in common as americans time as federalists or as republicans.
that is a lesson that we really need to learn. >> i think we need to recover the historical context of the late 18th century, and she is doing that right now. i'm building on her book. if he read article two of the constitution of the united states, i i'll bet you can't tell me what the president can do. the definition of the presidency isn't shaped by the constitution it's shaped by washington's own administration. i always voted for number one president. he creates the republican. let me tell you, the average american in the 17 80s and 90s was girl, linda is her life and
died without -- the mentality was local, not continental or national. this is what's under lay a perception that was -- we created a national government before we were a nation. so it's one one historian called something without the walls. so washington is the embodiment of a nation that doesn't exist. one of the reasons that he goes on a trip in his first two years to visit all of the states, britain and i believe somebody's got a book out of that right now. thank. what we need to remember is the united states in the 17 80s and 90s was a plural noun.
by the way, jefferson would go to his grave believing that we were still a confederacy, autonation. ian washington is in attempt to create -- it's one of the reasons why in the address itself he's trying to get him to insert in a paragraph national university, and hamilton keep saying, what in heaven's name does this have to do -- with he says you gotta keep putting it in, events like ends up being like two sentences. he wants to create an institution where americans from all sorts of different states c-sections can come together and inner act, and intermarry and i don't think george washington university make that distinction. the first institution that makes that is west point which
came into existence in 1803. >> washington is proposing both a civic college and purchase some land for which is now the naval observatory. when that idea died hamilton -- [inaudible] if you look at the original farewell which they have in the it's literally cut and paste it. >> i think -- john if you look at the last address to congress, it's almost fdr. you know to me? >> [inaudible] [laughs] gone. >> you have to get beyond that. no i'm saying? as with john quincy adams will
have as president. the division of a nation state which makes domestic and foreign policy in a robust way. and in that, washington is the member of a small minority in the nation. and anybody that opposes him could lay onto his position he is a tory because he's attempting to recreate a monarchy -- and of course jefferson is the main guy who is doing this behind the scenes. -- jefferson in the 17 90s, i don't really understand what he's doing. he spent 50 years writing about him and he didn't understand what he's doing. what he's doing is treasonable. he stabbing washington in the back. i might be wrong, kevin tell me
-- jefferson wrote to martha when he became president ghani, can i come see? she never answered i don't think but she said, washington said i never want that man on my property. >> it's right after washington's death and in particular martha had a very powerful statement about her distaste for jefferson. i may bring up a little more language here. we're gonna talk about union quite a bit, but the word union in his address it's all through this address, words like unity and union, unity of government which constitutes you want people -- that were now always jumps out of me. --
of your safety of your prosperity, of that very liberty which is so highly prize. this statement of the union is powerful and this again is not the only chunk of the address that touches on this. john how do you take this? >> this is quarantines little bit of what joe was describing. washington is watching the creation of a nation. he is very conscious of the fact that he's creating a national character through the example of his character, the decisions he makes as a president. it is a hard sell, he looks at himself as a virginian first, or new york are first, or south carolinian first. so washington is trying to say all the time that no, this
works because of the federal government. it is a guarantor of your liberty. you are not safe from strife. you don't necessarily have property rights unless we have a strong central government. it does mention journalists i might point out, but you know so people show up to new york and they signed the bill of rights, but they are representing their constitute constituents, not political parties. that's a later invention that will be discussed later. washington is constantly trying to say, through all our differences are nothing if we can't focus on what unites us rather than what divides us. you see so many the arguments we still see today. the debate with sea largely urban folks saying we need a
stronger central government to unite the nation, and primarily rural folks say that strong central government is a threat to our way of life. that is a continuity and in american debate that goes from the constitutional to convention through till today. washington clearly on the side of a stronger central government and emphasizing there is a balance to be struck. it's not all on one side of the ledger. the primary project is emphasizing the creation of a nation. full stop. >> what are your thoughts on washington immunity? >> [inaudible] [inaudible] what he is saying with having a strong [inaudible] this is again another credibly [inaudible] 21st century [inaudible] the goal is to have
rules authority obedience to the rule of law. will safeguard your liberties you don't get to have a free-for-all of whatever you want. as a modern society, we accept that [inaudible] and we're not allowed to drive drunk, that is a limitation that we expect to preserve for our liberties and freedom. [inaudible] obviously they didn't have cars and 1786 when he was writing this, but the concept is true so the concept of part of a free society, you have to accept certain limitations, and this is relevant coming on the heels of the rebellion which was two years prior to his address. [inaudible] there is a constitutional mandated way one can air once grievances.
-- unless the constitution changed, obedience to the constitution is the true way to be an american. >> joe let me ask you to address one specific. washington spent quite a bit of time on in his discussion of union and unity. talk about the north the south the west. could you help people who are not familiar with this. what did he gain when he looked at north, south and particularly west. more was that regional concern of this? >> well the north, south the obvious issue is the threat of civil war, and the underlying issue is slavery. i would like to say wish to the rear something you talked about in the farewell address that he didn't all talk about that later on. he said to --
this is before he was president, if there ever is a war between the north and the south, you need to know i will be with the north. i think jefferson repeats it. he sends his kids, to columbia, they're not actually his kids -- -- but the other thing is west. i think john -- 1783. that is his most lyrical statement of all time it seems to me with regards to his vision for the republic. and you can see it in his
farewell address p f to know about it beforehand. that is america's future is not to -- but to the west. and lafayette said come with me will do a grant to, will do paris will do rome, berlin, i don't think we will do london. and he says no, you come with me, we'll do detroit, will do new orleans, will do savannah. that is the future up there. when you get to the louisiana purchase, they think dinosaurs are out there, mammoths and all that kind of thing. i might be pushing this too much to diplomacy but
washington believes that we begin with the largest trust fund that any new nation is ever enjoyed. we have this geographic advantage as well on both sides of the atlantic in pacific. he's mostly concerned obviously with the atlantic. maybe john and lindsey can disagree with me and we can play it out as an argument. washington's definition of american exceptionalism is exactly the opposite of what most contemporary people think american exceptionalism is. the contemporary view which we saw after we won the cold war, is now the russians are gone we can make the world safe for democracy's wilson believed because we have the model the works everywhere. washington said our model is distinctive and unique and exceptional and for that reason, don't expect it to work in
france. the french revolution probably will fail. when the iraq war was going on, everybody wanted to know what washington would say about iraq. i said, he wouldn't know where iraq was. but later when they kept pressing me, i said how did we become britain? explain the one to me. i'm pressing into more foreign policy maybe don't want to do the -- >> let's look. >> the west is what's presses in there. he believes that is certainly the future for the next 100 years. >> let's go to foreign policy. this is another small segment of a fairly lengthy discussion in the address. the great rule of conduct for
us with regards to foreign nations isn't extending our commercial relation to have a political connection as much as possible. so far we've already formed engagements, build with perfect good faith, here let us stop. -- this is washington at the end of his presidency. it is how washington's presidency played out? >> i think for the most part he did. he didn't want to be [inaudible] recognized at the line [inaudible] asking for trouble especially at a time when threats and great britain were essentially having their second 100-year war. they were at when she's each one another's throats. [inaudible] for example, in
1793 when [inaudible] the united states and france to have treaties on the books. that a treaty of energy and commerce left over from the revolutionary war. there was a defensive treaty. so said that france and the united states were bound to help one other other if they were attacked by their enemy meaning great britain. but because france had won the war, they were not attacked in there for united states was not obligated to come to france. this was convenient because the united states didn't really have an army or navy anyway. but so the concept is trying to balance these two's main goal
trying to get not too close to intensive relationship with either. >> it's one of my favorite moments, he praises washington for having neutrality and insists that no one else could've done it. john, the foreign relations statement to washington said here. can you talk us about the legacy that? take us into the 18th and 19th and 20th century? >> first of all, the statement of neutrality between france and great britain was revolutionary but, washington is really fixated that we have a strategic asset that is unlike any other. i joked in my book it's a version of what will rogers used to say, america has the two best friends a country ever had the atlantic in the pacific ocean. we are insulated from the chaos
of continental europe where they kill each other for centuries. that's a strategic asset. particularly at the time when distance really inoculated. so he said look, no way we're gonna become a satellite of another nation. we need to become another nation. we need a least 20 years to build our own strength, military economic, then we can start making our own decisions religion in our best interest and economics. but he says you don't have [inaudible] mckinley's satellite of anyone else, won't get dragged into a foreign war. that would be huge mistake for who we are now as the nation we need to build up strength. [inaudible] this plays a 19 centuries easily enforced by the fact that the world is not
-- you can't attack america very easily. so we were fairly isolated. abraham lincoln's secretary of state said america's foreign policy can beside summed up into words. the golden rule and the doctrine. that's his real state of your business, don't come into our sphere of influence. there are temptations to empire. joe said we are a republic not an empire. that is core foundational founding fathers wisdom. late 19th century, that starts to get strained. by the time we get into the debate over world war i and i read about this in my book, it's really fascinating to. debate we are getting in and world war i is conducted in the
league of nations but to biographers we will roll sun and -- they are defending the washingtonian tradition. saying look we've never gotten involved in the continental fight why should be now? wilson is saying the idea of washington are at stake and lot of the economic iffy once we do get involved in the first world war involves calling on washington's legacy. something really interesting happens. the world doesn't end. all of a sudden, it looked like maybe washington wasn't this perfect profit. we can't get involved in world wars and keep the world safe from democracy and all that. so takes washington down a peg. there is a backlash that when
the second world war comes about, there was the group the america first committee, they were isolationist, teased washington's farewell address has a message against america getting involved in a war. the german american host a rally at madison square garden's it functions is american nazi party and there's a giant poster flag of george washington in the background. the keynote address is someone misappropriating the farewell address. this is paid for by government. [inaudible] washington -- that's one of the reasons. here you have a foreign government, misappropriation of
-- that backfires badly on them, but the legacy of the farewell address really starts to fall away for a time as a result of that association with the america posters. the incorrect belief that it is an isolationist doc current document. we shouldn't start trying to export democracy or get involved in foreign fights. but once we are strong as a nation that we can make decisions based on our own conception. it's different than and isolationism. >> joe in a recent book viewers american dialogue have, along text on washington and his foreign policy vision at large,
looking at his actions across all of his time as commander-in-chief, and particular both times. what's your read on the foreign policy vision of washington he would share? >> that there is a portion of his legacy that is no longer relevant. i hear john saying it's not about the isolationism, but i don't think -- washington did envision us as a world power, but i think his vision of us as a world power was close to what john quincy adams -- he cannot go out in search of monsters to destroy. [inaudible] lost my train of thought. what did you ask me again? it seems to me another dimension to washington's
legacy it is very much alive, there are very many people who claimed loyalty to him don't always agree about what it is we should. that's the realistic tradition in american foreign policy. it has its origins in the are well in dialogue of greece and it is in washington's terms, a nation pack solely on the nations of interest. all trees are temporary. because the interests might change. if you want to carry it into your contemporary american world, we care allot about human rights but we're not going to war on them. i think the person who embodies it most in the late 20th
century in his doctorate of containment and it's clear what real isn't as well as you have to distinguish between with what you should can and should do and with what you cannot and should not to. it cannot be an open-ended foreign policy. -- at least in my humble opinion washington if he could somehow bring him out, my famous one what do we do about iraq? if there's one place on the planet you don't want to get involved, it's the middle east. if there's one place in the middle east it is like graveyard for all western values it's afghanistan. bring it really up today and thank you be very supportive of biden's decision to get ascent, i think he would say what you
need to do is not to look for scapegoats but let's try to figure out how we made this mistake in the first place. i think that in some sense our own understanding of white britain makes the biggest mistake in its history but making war on the united states in 70 70 75 76, we can understand that now in a way that we couldn't before. [inaudible] why would they step into a quagmire and in a world war that is both unwinnable. we should know about that. >> there's a lot i agree with joe. let me just push back for debates sake. >> it is a grimace on your face finally gonna push back. >> on two points. first of all, the core of what you're saying is exactly right.
it can be summed up in a number of different ways. america is not a -- power. that doesn't mean we don't have interests as an independent mentioned, we're not a columnist power. if you look at our involvement in world war i into, but the definition of american exceptionalism, we beat back people who are not simply disrupting the balance of power but attacking free and allied nations -- >> not world war i, world war ii, but not world war i. world war i was a mistake. >> you and i can debate that but i won't do that just now. yes in germany we have an air force base, but we don't have to get into that detail right now. the case of the barber pirates which doesn't occur under washington.
if we are attacked, what do you do? how far do you extend that? how much does the does the treaty with morocco apply? the a pictures of the time and of course where begins on the attacks on 9/11. watch it's a situation that washington couldn't have imagined. i don't know if he could've imagined attacking their own capital that's another conversation. >> i think you could very easily imagine that. >> just finished with regards to foreign policy, if you are attacked, and we respond. the problem is we responded with an open ended commitment rather than a more realist -- we have a limited objective and we are going to achieve that
and get it. different geo political realities -- >> richard clark was in charge a counter insurgency of clinton, it was as if after pearl harbor pearl harbor we had invaded mexico. that's the reason why i'm going to disagree with you on some of this so i think that all the energy and the annexed and the anguish that was created by september 11th was diverted -- >> are you talking about iraq or afghanistan? >> i think you have to draw a distinction between the two. >> iraq was no nuclear weapons. and had nothing to do with al-qaeda. >> i agree with you on. that and i'm gonna take it back to 1796. keep it over just a few minutes
longer. we had a great conversation, i hope you love the time to answer some few ideas questions that have come in. i don't mean to keep elon, but julie was doing things behind the scenes fielded a couple of audience questions. kate l asked where was britain, when was britain, did anybody -- john i will go to you first. the where and when, nowhere is quite interesting. >> where is the executive branch existing in philadelphia, pennsylvania. washington begins writing his farewell speech at the end of his first term. he does not want to have a second term. at that time, james madison's fallen under his jefferson's sway, and basically he is persuaded -- the one thing jefferson happens to agree upon is that of
washington is no longer president, there could be a civil war. beginning of the second term, hamilton is still treasury secretary up in new york city, but washington begins corresponding, and because jefferson hamilton a phony democratic republican party, he brings adams in hamilton and starts corresponding with them. that is the pro prime eric -- to perform an onsite at it. process a back and forth, and hamilton does a good job of describing. in the play that is. what manuel said was, he designed it so that hamilton
would be healed delivering it as pros and washington would turn it into poetry. so the spirit and soul of washington's. that's the thing. it's not a federalist paper. and part because it is a congressional printing contract. he chose a nonpartisan paper to publish it. >> i've always wondered why hamilton, because washington had so many people he trusted and could work with, but hamilton was at the top of that list. can you tell us about that read to that story? >> in 1796 washington had a relationship with the
secretaries. i [inaudible] he really didn't want to have meetings with him, he didn't trust their writing abilities that much. [inaudible] one really important element washington -- in march of 1786 washington actually sent in the draft. washington test jefferson's first draft. he insisted that the final include several paragraphs in the beginning, and was basically a shot across the bow. washington was anticipating the madison and jefferson would be
critical of this address. somehow they would see the address as a attempt to garner more power in the executive. so by doing this he, was basically saying that you participated in the farewell address in the drafting of it, and there was a savvy political move, and sure enough madison was not critical of the address because of this. >> hamilton hammers the most -- [interpreter] through seven years of the war he was writing jefferson's. when you read general orders which are boring entering the 1770's, and they were signed by washington, but he didn't write them, hamilton and one of his other aides. he called them ten men. one of them was insecure about his own lack of education.
jefferson went to -- -- went to harvard, washington went to war. he was conscious of his home lack of literacy and he wanted to surround him self with people who were well educated. that was hamilton, florence, lafayette, those were the people. >> another audience question. we have one from jim about specifics here, how much of washington's foreign policy was driven by the fact of the spanish maintain control of the louisiana territory in the british health canada? [inaudible] who wants to take a first status? north american geopolitics? >> i'm pushing this hard.
why is it called the continental army? was it called the continental congress? it's really only the congress? in some sense it's being continentally from the beginning. the border of the washing of the united states with washington ends at the mississippi. can we go, the spanish were declining european power, and they were like a cow bird -- spain was a perfect european nation to have power of other, because we know a soon as the demographic wave hits them,
they are gone. i don't think anybody could easily foresee the louisiana purchase there is a sense of manifest tacitly for becomes turn. canada remember at the time 70 96, we thought we're gonna get canada, and cuba. the war of 1812 we were supposed to when canada and of course it didn't turn out that way. there was a continental wide ian byrd goes crazy off the record. i think tanya the consumption that florida and most of the west would most likely come our way. with the demography doing it rather than war. ian >> yeah i think that as was
said earlier, washington was the real realist. he understood that in 1775 it was important that it gave the americans access to the river. that didn't have the ability to send their goods over the mountain regions to places like philadelphia or new york city, we desperately need access to the waters before there were trees and cars, that kind of thing. however, washington was very realistic about the fact that spain and france were playing off of each other. regularly, there were enslaved individuals that self emancipated towards florida. and while there were goals about taking canada, that happened hadn't happened yet. so much of his foreign policy advice was not getting too close to one country.
because if you get too close to britain, then france's going to get annoyed on the southern border and maybe see more friendly to the self emancipated in sleeved individuals. or you get too close to france, then spain will get jealous and it will cut off access to the river. so, it's really this delicate dance of trying to hold all of these pieces together, before the united states did have the entire continent. and recognizing that as great as we thought we were in 1796, at this point we were still a relatively small power. and very much subject to the winds of international superpowers. and washington really understood that. >> john? >> look, i just see that remember, most of the european powers thought that democracy would fail. and then they would get a chance to re-carve the continent at that time. --
and the episode in washington's 2nd term which is related to the ratification ratification treaty. jefferson and madison, because washington declared nudge neutrality, it means there really siding with the english. so, played that game to great effect. then the french revolutionary jackman's -- part of his deal was to either sweet the u.s. back to their site or try to build on louisiana and destabilized the nation. there were a lot of adventuresome plots around that at that time. ultimately, even jefferson realize that -- was a bad deal. then he retired to jamaica, long island. >> and married of the governor's daughter. >> correct. >> i mean, there is one topic
that we totally barely touched on a few different times tonight. and we do have an audience question coming in to help us explore that. josh washington's last will and testament, they're different kinds. to particularly with respect to -- that we have an ex willard quite enough. john, first? thoughts >> i explicitly say in my book that his last will and testament should beacon centered a quarter to the farewell address. by all means, if he hasn't he should. ,,, -- the farewell addresses silent on the issue of slavery. now, washington it is in his last will and testament -- which could be considered the ultimate farewell address -- takes the decided and an usual
among the founding fathers steps of freeing his slaves. albeit upon martha's death. so, there's 1 million different reasons why this is insufficient an emotionally unsatisfying by contemporary perspectives. all of which so obviously don't need to be discussed. it is a core condition to the core promise and promise of america. that said, it is a revolutionary act that washington news is going to be public. and there's a lot of matthew doesn't do. for example, sets up a dynamic weather of people looking for martha die sooner rather than later. but this is intended to be and written to be a public statement. there's a lot of drama around its drafting. which version he chooses. notably, the other [inaudible] who are virginian and not named
adams who owned slaves, don't do this. right? the release their sleeves upon their deaths. but washington was making a very clear statement to the country. so, i hundred percent believe it can and be considered the coldest to the farewell address, wesley race finally address by washington. >> i wish he had a paragraph in the farewell address that told his readers and americans that he intended to free his slaves. >> oh, gosh yes. >> and he sort of did. at that moment, trying to polish his thought process is not easy. he's committed to free his slaves what he can get the sale of his western land. but he can't get that sold, so he keeps budging it until 17 1790 finally commits. and he can only free the slaves which he owns which are slightly less than half of the
317 slaves at mount vernon. we can prove this, that i think that martha is very reluctant to see the slaves freed. in part because they're all intermarried on that plantation, or on the farms there. i would think that washington is the greatest leader in american history. i think that slavery is america's original sin and racism is its enduring, toxic residue. we're still living with it. it was there a chance to end it and put it on the road to extinction before the numbers speaking too much. was h e shakespearean tragedy and not a quick tragedy? yes. he could've most effectively moved in that direction. washington.
he field as a leader on this issue. no, that's a heck of a standard to apply. and i agree with john in the sense that when we look back at the 21st century, our present perspective give us an enormous advantage. but the new, washington knew, that slavery was a contradiction to the values of the american revolution. he said that. he knew that. he knew and what he kept saying is, we've got to wait. wait until 1808, he said. that's when the sleeve treat will and, but it didn't. so, in some sense -- i would've liked him to see, and i would like the constitution to have said, look, we're not going to attempt to end slavery in the states of the deep south now. but let us all agree that the core principles of this republic cannot ilana and
permit this institution texas forever. and a house divided cannot stand. which is by the way, a method is minister used that frees in 1778. that's where lincoln got it from. >> gonna have your last word on this important subject? >> yes, so the historian of slavery gordon reed has said that he thinks that george washington was concerned that if he spoke out about slavery during his lifetime it would cause irreparable harm and divide the country. and whether or not that's true, i don't know. that certainly what he thought. so, that's why he didn't say anything during his lifetime. no, his will was certainly more than something. it was more than some people did. it was less than others did. i think that in some ways, is a little bit -- they certainly wasn't taking the easy rode out, because he
wasn't. but it also wasn't really taking a super principled stand because he enjoyed the labor and their time while he was still alive. so, the way i see it as it was more than nothing but it certainly wasn't enough. >> i think in that sense it's absolutely right. we must remember, we began with the union, his commitment to the union. if you raise the question of slavery at all in a way, you risk that. this one he was most era fight of. we have to keep all of the national agenda until at some point in time when we can really face squarely, until the republic is sufficiently stable to survive the debate. >> i'm gonna break things to a close to ask each of you to just go to clearances question. julie and i were talking about this. we wanted you to close on this point. the biggest takeaway for you? i'll start with john. why would you want people to continue reading the farewell
address, 225 years later? what's the biggest takeaway for you? >> washington warned us that the about the forces that can destroy a democratic republic. the document contains all the wisdom of his life and 8 easy prophetic document. and in particular, his warnings against hyperpartisan ship, foreign interference in our domestic politics, our ripped from the headlines of today. and if i had to pick one of those that i would argue that washington less most concerned about and we should be most concerned about, it's hyperpartisan ship. putting party over country. the forces that we are playing with today and risking the success of our republican. >> lindsay, your biggest take away? i should people continue to turn to this document? >> i agree with everything john said. i would actually add one element about the foreign policy that you didn't quite touch on. which was that washington was
warned against allowing emotions for other nations, color our ideas against our fellow americans. 2 color our ability to stand as a united nation. i think that that isn't really distinguished. which is stop allowing whether it's partisan identity or foreign policy against the -- to make us forget what we have in common. make us forget our promise and instead see those differences. so, it's really stop looking for the divisions and instead look for the things that we have that align us together. >> jim, last word? >> both of my colleagues here have done a great job. john and lindsey, so i echo their views. as a teacher a 44 years, many students these days don't take anything happened before they were born.
the farewell address, the document, because it would be so alien to so many of them, i want them to understand it. we're going to formerly country, we're learning to think can speak in a different language. and the language that washington speaks is one of the reasons john mentioned, desperately absent from the center of american politics, especially at the congressional and presidential level. the public interest is something that nobody understands now. and to even suggest that your highest priority is is to me your qualify not qualified to serve. -- they would never run for public office for presidency in the current global climate. they regard it as prostitution. comparing where we were to
where we are looking back and learning something about where we need to be in the future. >> thank you so much. great conversation. i have learned a lot. an important document. thank you for helping so many people out there a better understanding. white remains relevant today. and a half of mcgovern and all of you out there, thank you for joining us here tonight. we hope to see you again soon. thank you and goodnight.