By: Keval Bollavaram
For my Historical Annotation Project, I chose George Washington’s Farewell Address. George Washington originally wrote his farewell along with James Madison at the end of his first term. However, after serving a second term he revised his message due to disputes between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Moreover, this document was first published in the American Daily Advertiser.
I remember learning about the historical importance of George Washington’s Farewell Address in my high school history class. This document represents the hopes of George Washington for the country after experiencing the disagreements between members of his own cabinet. I chose this document because it shows how many of Washington’s fears have come to fruition. Specially, Washington warns against powerful and established political parties that would divide the young nation and lead to either division or invasion.
Researching George Washington has become intertwined with researching the Revolutionary War and conflicts between the Founding Fathers. For example, Washington references mistakes he made during the war and hopes that the people of the United States will forgive him. Here he is referencing his failures as commander and chief as well as he defeats during the Revolutionary war such as his tactical loss and retreat from New York.
In order to connect his ideas through my annotations, some of my beginning research work focuses on the broader history of the time period. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to isolate necessary information from miscellaneous facts. This has caused some of annotations to be long winded and less focused on the text. To overcome these issues, I hope to look over my existing annotations and summarize them. Moving forward, I will focus on specific facts/events that are directly related to George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.
One cool thing that I stumbled upon while conducting my research was this video from Senator Tim Kaine where he explains the importance of George Washington’s Farewell Address and describes how it is recited each year.