What Did George Washington Warn Against in His Farewell Address?

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George Washington warned Americans against entering permanent alliances with other nations and against having great passions either for or against any foreign nation in his farewell address. Instead, he urged the nation to agree to temporary alliances as necessary. The United States formed no long-term alliances for more than 150 years after his address.

Washington’s Farewell Address was given on September 17, 1796. The first president believed that taking sides among other nations could prove risky for the United States and that aligning too much with or against other nations diverted his nation’s interests from important matters at home. Many American citizens today cite Washington’s advice to promote isolationism.