George Washington speech was a letter written in 1796 by the first president of America. The target audience for this speech was the American people, and his aim was to sensitize the Americans on the need to promote good governance, and methods of obtaining long lasting happiness and peace. The dangers that President Washington was talking about arose from issues such as the emergence of internal factions, as well as on how to relate with foreign nations (McClellan, 2000). This paper asserts that this speech by George Washington is an important historical document that advises Americans on issues of governance and foreign relations.
President Washington warned Americans against the promotion sectionalism (Waldman and Stephanopoulos, 2003). This is because sectionalism is one of the major factors responsible for causing disunity and suspicion amongst the Americans (Waldman and Stephanopoulos, 2003). Washington asserts that sectionalism has the capability of destroying the common interest that Americans have (McClellan, 2000). It is, therefore, prudent for citizens of United States to stay in unity and resist anyone seeking to promote selfish interests (McClellan, 2000). George Washington further argued that to discourage sectionalism, each and every citizen of America should regard themselves as Americans (Waldman and Stephanopoulos, 2003). Ferdon (2014) explains that these arguments by Washington are a danger to the freedom of expression, association, and speech.
Ferdon (2014) believes that to promote democracy within a state, each and every person should be allowed to express their opinions, even if they are selfish in nature. This is because when the foundation of a state is strong, and there is justice, then anybody seeking to divide the state would not succeed. In supporting this point, Waldman and Stephanopoulos (2003) argue that a country such as the Soviet Union was able to disintegrate because of lack of basic freedoms such as freedom of speech, association, etc. Washington further views political parties as agents of sectionalism, and hence they should be restricted (Waldman and Stephanopoulos, 2003). This assertion is not correct because political parties are agents of democracy. The most leading democracies in the world have political parties, and this includes countries such as United Kingdom, France, India, Italy, etc (Ferdon, 2014).
Another important point addressed in this speech is the role of religion and morality in governance. Washington denotes that for a state to prosper politically and economically, there is a need of embracing the concept of religion and morality (Waldman and Stephanopoulos, 2003). This is because they help in holding the society together. This assertion by George Washington has some validity in it. For example, a state such as Saudi-Arabia has used religion in holding the country together. Saudi-Arabia is one of the richest and most stable countries in the Middle East and the world. However, Ferdon (2014) disagrees with this assertion. Ferdon denotes that in as much as Saudi-Arabia uses religion as a means of holding the society together, the regime of Saudi-Arabia is one of the most brutal in the world (Ferdon, 2014).
This is because they do not promote democracy and anybody that criticizes the government is detained, and charged with treason. Based on this example of Saudi-Arabia, Ferdon (2014) argues that there is a need of promoting different religious beliefs, as opposed to creating one religion within a state. On issues dealing with foreign relations, George Washing advised that the state should avoid interfering with political activities of another state (Waldman and Stephanopoulos, 2003). This is an assertion that McClellan (2000) refuses. This is because the failure to intervene politically on issues that might affect the United States, may lead to the downfall of America (McClellan, 2000). In supporting this assertion Ferdon (2014) explains that had the United States ignored the activities of Soviet Union to spread communism, then chances are high that the economy of US could suffer. This, therefore, required America to promote capitalism, hence the emergence of cold war. This is an assertion that Waldman and Stephanopoulos (2003) does not support.
Waldman and Stephanopoulos (2003) argue that states are sovereign in nature, therefore political influence and intervention would amount to disrespecting the sovereignty of the state under consideration. However, an issue that Waldman and Stephanopoulos (2003) agrees with Washington is on the aspect of checks and balances. Washington argues that there is a need of creating a system of separation of powers, as this would help in preventing an individual or group of people from taking over the control of the state (Waldman and Stephanopoulos, 2003). This aspect is seen in the development of a powerful judiciary, congress, senate, and presidency in America. These institutions are independent in nature, and the judiciary has the capability to prevent the implementation of unconstitutional policy or law that is enacted by congress. This is through its judicial reviews, granted in the case involving Marbury vs. Madison.
In conclusion, this speech by George Washing is important as it normally guides the American political beliefs. In as much as George Washington advocated for political noninterference, the US has politically intervened in a number of countries. On religious morality, some of the laws enacted in some states are against the principles of religion and morality. Issues such as gay marriages and abortion are sensitive legal issues in America. On issues regarding separation of powers, most democracies have an independent parliament and judiciary. These institutions normally help to check on an executive branch of government, to ensure that it does not breach the constitution.