57 pages 1 hour read

George Washington

George Washington's Farewell Address

Nonfiction | Essay / Speech | Adult | Published in 1796

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“George Washington’s Farewell Address”

  • Genre: Nonfiction; political speech
  • Originally Published: 1796
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 1480L; grades 8-12; adult/college
  • Structure/Length: Approx. 10 pages; approx. 38 minutes on audio
  • Central Concern: The first president of the United States—George Washington—vacates his government position and shares with the public several examples about how to maintain a successful nation.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Discussion of liberty by a person who enslaved others

George Washington, Author

  • Bio: Born February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia; died in 1799; grew up on a plantation; father died when he was 11, leaving him the family farm and 10 enslaved people; raised by older brother after father’s death; commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution; awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1776 by the Second Continental Congress; served as first president of the United States, 1789-1797; used enslaved labor at Mount Vernon throughout his life; in his will, freed the 123 people he legally owned
  • Other Works: Various letters, journal entries, official documents, and speeches throughout his lifetime

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Unit:

  • The Importance of National Unity
  • Virtue as a Safeguard Against Social Decay
  • The Preservation of Liberty

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Unit, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of the political and economic circumstances of the late 1700s that influenced Washington’s farewell address.