"While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations... 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. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other."
George Washington
(1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country'
Farewell Address, September 17, 1796, Ref: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (521)
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Reader comments about this quote:
YES, absolutely. The opposite is also true. Those that thrive on the omnipotent government (by military or other means), endearing compelled compliance, victimless crimes, license, military crusading (foreign and domestic - a highly animated executive force) etc. are inauspicious and hostile to all liberty.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    This quote explains the very essence how important it is that we stay a United group of States in the face of threats and how imperative it is that we look out for one another as Americans because a threat to any one of us is a threat to each one of us. Our country,any country for that matter, is only as strong as it's weakest characteristic. God Bless Liberty. God Bless the USA.
     -- me again     
    This is why "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." There's safety in numbers. Washington also refers to the United States as a Republic, not a democracy!
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
    Hooray the Unites State of America? I think the point to be heeded in the quote is "hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments" as it certainly is not what we have avoided by binding ourselves into this more perfect union. And again, this quote does not lead to one saying hooray for America today.
     -- EGL, LA     
    Washington also referred to this nation as an empire, Joe. So does that mean it is not a republic anymore? You can burn the dictionary, if you like, but it does not alter reality. This is a democratic republic.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
    Washington, as usual, hits the nail right on the head. His honesty is unmatched in American political history as well as his humility -- he could have made himself King if he had wanted, but he did not abuse the power that had ended up in his hands. The State militias were to be the check on federal military power so that America would not turn into an overgrown military establishment (which unquestionably, it is today).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    By way of definition: A Democracy is the majority creating law (beyond natural or otherwise law - at the detriment to the individual, and the few). A Republic is the majority deciding how best to protect the individual's right(s). Using the broadest brush possible, Jefferson tried to describe a procedure, not form of government, in implementing individual liberty. Washington understood the perils in implementing executive force.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    That may be what your dictionary says, but mine says something else. According to the little dictionary I have here, a democracy is "1. A form of government in which political power resides in all the people and is exercised by them directly or is given to their representatives. 2. A state so governed. 3. The spirit or practice of political, legal, or social equality."
     -- David L Rosenthal     
    ahhhh yes, the new modified politically correct dictionaries for the dumming down of America, far from the definitions the founders were used to.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- P.M.      
    It is simply irrational to assume that democracy has the unbending definition you apply to it. In real terms, democracy is still an experiment, the development of which depends on us. Not very promising, but true.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
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