September 15: What a country!

What I saw when I crossed the Delaware.

I like politics myself, and I could pull out a thing or two from Washington's Farewell Address that accord with my way of thinking -- thereby making myself seem like Washington, even though he was taller. (I can imagine how Adams felt.)

But, before the tendentiousness, let's look at how worried Washington was about his young country. Everyone talks about how the Farewell Address lays out a foreign policy, but when you read it, you find it's front-loaded with a long argument about why it would be a bad idea to fly into a million little pieces:
The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal Laws of a common government, finds, in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise—and precious materials of manufacturing industry.—The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand....The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications, by land and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home...
It's in your own interest not to flirt with the French! You can't blame Washington, though -- he had only just gotten the British to leave the Great Lakes once and for all. His vision for the U.S. is that it should be the World's Biggest Switzerland:
If we remain one People, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected. When belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by our justice, shall counsel.
The benefit of this? It's all about the as-yet-uninvented Benjamins:
But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand:—neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences;—consulting the natural course of things;—diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing;—establishing with Powers so disposed—in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our Merchants, and to enable the Government to support them...
"To give trade a stable course," which it had not yet had yet, I guess; I find Washington to be full of anxiety that his vision for the country might come to pass, but won't -- if things go wrong. Washington was, certainly rightly, a man of anxiety. No wonder he made whiskey at Mount Vernon.

Another interesting point, much remarked on I'm sure, is this graf:
Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion, and Morality are indispensable supports.—In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens.—The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.—A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity.—Let it simply be asked where is security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion...
We should be religious, not because it is true, but because it is useful. Without religion the property values will go down. That's a real Episcopalian for you! Not that I'm against it, mind you -- hot religion does seem incompatible with a state founded by a bunch of people who seem to have preferred the Romans to the Christians.

Now for the selective quotation!
Hence likewise they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown Military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.
I couldn't agree more.

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