George Washington’s Farewell Address

“George Washington’s Farwell Address” by E.P. Moran

 Edward Percy Moran (“Percy”) (1862 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 1935 in New York City) was an American artist known for his scenes of American history.

 To this day, Washington’s Farewell Address is considered to be one of the most important documents in American history and the foundation of the Federalist Party’s political doctrine.

 Despite his stated desire to retire from public service, Washington would later accept a commission from President John Adams, although Adams was largely forced into providing the commission by members of the Federalist Party, as the Senior Officer of a Provisional Army formed to defend the nation against a possible invasion by French forces during the Quasi-War. Despite spending months organizing the Officer Corps of the Provisional Army, Washington held true to his statements in his farewell address and declined suggestions that he return to public office by running for reelection in the presidential election of 1800.

 Washington’s statements on the importance of religion and morality in American politics, as well as his warnings on the dangers of foreign alliances, although often stated and recognized arguments, were provided special consideration from the pen of an American hero and became common reference during political debates well into the nineteenth century. Despite his refusal to recognize the obligations of the Treaty of Alliance with France, and a later decision to end the treaty by the U.S. Congress in 1778, Washington’s hope that the United States would end permanent alliances with foreign nations would not be fully realized until 1800 with the signing of Convention of 1800 (Treaty of Mortefontaine). The treaty officially ended the 1778 Treaty of Alliance in exchange for ending the Quasi-War and establishing of most favored nation trade relations with Napoleonic France.

In 1823, Washington’s foreign policy goals would be further realized with the issuing of the Monroe Doctrine which promised non-interference in European affairs so long as the nations of Europe did not seek to re-colonize or interfere with the newly independent Latin American nations of Central and South America.

[Framed oil on canvas  size 30×40  – reproduction valued at $2268.00]

Courtesy of Edward Mero, Prestige Fine Art (

Interact: Art can provide a glimpse of what might have been happening in preparation for an event in history. What does this painting tell you about Washington and his Farewell Address?

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