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" There can be no greater error than to expect, or calculate upon real favours from Nation to Nation. "

Farewell Address |

Editorial Notes

In September 1796, George Washington wrote a letter to the American people, which was published in newspapers throughout the country.  Written to explain his decision not to seek a third term as president, Washington sought to leave the country his idea of what they needed to do to prosper in the future.  This quote comes at the close of a long section detailing his belief that the United States should “Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all,” while foregoing both “permanent inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachment for others.”

George Washington, Farewell Address | September 19, 1796