George Washington dedicated most of his adult life — as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, as President of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and as the first President of the United States — to public service for the preservation of liberty, independence, republican government, and the Union. In what was then one of the rarest and most remarkable acts of human history, Washington voluntarily gave up the power with which the people had entrusted him not once, but twice, earning him a reputation as the “American Cincinnatus.” Near the end of Washington’s second term in office, as he announced his plan to return to life as a private citizen, he offered sage advice to “friends and fellow citizens” on what was necessary to preserve the great work of free self-government Americans had started. In the over 200 years since its writing, Washington’s Farewell Address has served as a source of encouragement, advice, and warning for generations of Americans and our representatives.
Documents in Detail is TAH.org’s newest webinar series, offering a close read and in-depth discussion of a single document in each episode. Scholars will discuss the ideas, historical context, purpose, speaker, audience, and use of language in each document, in order to help teachers gain a deeper understanding of one core document from American History. All teachers who take part in a live episode will be emailed a downloadable certificate for continuing education hours and, as always, TAH.org’s webinars are free to all.