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Toolbox Library, primary resources thematically organized with notes and discussion questionsOnline Seminars, professional development seminars for history and literature teachersLiving the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Living the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Topic: Predicaments of Early Republican LifeTopic: ReligionTopic: PoliticsTopic: ExpansionTopic: Equality
Topic: Politics
Overview of Living the Revolution
Resource Menu: Politics
Text 1. Government and Liberty
Text 2. Agriculture and Manufacturing
Text 3. George Washington
» Reading Guide
•  Link

Text 4. State and Federal Power
Text 5. Thomas Jefferson
Text 6. National Identity
Text 7. The Politics of Foreign Affairs
RESOURCE MENU » Reading Guide Link

Reading Guide
3.  George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
  George Washington

Thirteen years after breaking away from Great Britain—years of war and frustrated attempts at nation-building—the United States inaugurated its first president under the new Constitution. George Washington had to make it happen—turn the fledgling and fussing thirteen states into a single "United States." Sobering. He is credited with providing eight years of stable and honest administration and with setting precedents honored to this day. Yet when he delivered his Farewell Address, he voiced more alarm than assurance. He describes his "apprehension of danger" from threats internal and external—sectionalism, political parties, foreign entanglements, and above all, a failure to revere the Constitution as the basis of national unity. The ultimate danger is the weakness of human nature in letting local and personal interests define one's vision. A must-read in the classroom. 8 pages.

Discussion questions
  ·  To Washington, what is encompassed in "living the revolution"?
  ·  How does he allude to the Constitution as sacred?
  ·  How can citizens transcend the narrow vision of their personal interests?
  ·  What is the big-picture thinking that Washington finds critical to the nation's survival?
  ·  How would Benjamin Franklin have bid farewell to the presidency, had he held the office?

» Link

Topic Framing Questions
  •  What core political issues defined themselves in the new republic?
  •  What caused the greatest optimism and anxiety among American leaders?
  •  What do the religious overtones in these political texts express?
  •  What national identity evolved in the three decades from 1789 to 1820?

Toolbox: Living the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Predicaments | Religion | Politics | Expansion | Equality

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