What had our nation done from 1790-1860 with regards to building unity, forming alliances, and political parties?
mid-1790s increasingly seemed likely to combine. First, Washington warned of "the baneful effects of the SPIRIT OF PARTY." To Washington POLITICAL PARTIES were a deep threat to the health of the nation for they allowed "a small but artful and enterprising minority" to "put in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party."
George Washington's handwritten copy of his famous Farewell Address. Alexander Hamilton helped Washington edit his first draft.
Yet, it was the dangerous influence of foreign powers, judging from the amount of the Address that Washington devoted to it, where he predicted the greatest threat to the young United States. As European powers embarked on a long war, each hoping to draw the U.S. to its side, Washington admonished the country "to steer clear of permanent Alliances." Foreign nations, he explained, could not be trusted to do anything more than pursue their own interests when entering international treaties. Rather than expect "real favors from Nation to Nation," Washington called for extending foreign "commercial relations" that could be mutually beneficial, while maintaining "as little political connection as possible." Washington's commitment to NEUTRALITY was, in effect, an anti-French position since it overrode a 1778 treaty promising mutual support between France and the United States.