What was said in their farewell speeches, the presidents of the United...

What was said in their farewell speeches, the presidents of the United States

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44th President Barack Obama

Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

44th US President Barack Obama will deliver a farewell address to the nation. The first of American leaders with such a statement at the end of the XVIII century was made by George Washington, however, the traditional speech by the outgoing presidents were only in the middle of the last century. What was said in their farewell speeches of former U.S. presidents — a review of RBC

George Washington, 19 September 1796

The first in the history of the United States farewell address to the nation made its first elected President George Washington. In the autumn of 1796, in the Philadelphia edition of the Daily Advertiser had published his letter, consisting of 32 handwritten pages. It is an appeal that has become a real political will of Washington, is still considered one of the most important documents in American history.

The appeal of Washington contained a large number of ideas are already more than two hundred years continue to exert a direct influence on domestic and foreign policy of the United States, as well as on the process of the formation of the American nation. The main thing that made Washington — he refused to occupy the presidential position more than two terms, although he had every right to do: legitimize this rule amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1947.



The first elected President of the USA George Washington (center)

Photo: globallookpress

“Maintain peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality are encouraging this behavior. In the implementation of such a plan nothing is more essential than the rejection of a permanent, deep-rooted hostility towards some countries, and a passionate attachment for others, should instead develop honest and friendly relationships with everyone.

The state is experiencing towards another habitual hatred or included in the habit of sympathy, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or disposition, and each of these feelings is enough to knock that state out of the way, meeting its debt and interest” (George Washington, 1796).

The importance of appeals of Washington emphasizes the fact that since 1862, with small breaks, it is read annually before both houses of Congress. This happens on February 22, the birthday of the first President. This is partly explained by the fact that over the next 150 years after the departure of Washington as President farewell address to the nation, through the print media, consulted, only one President in 1837 did Andrew Jackson.

New traditions to appeal to the American nation gave to the development of electronic media — radio and television.

Harry Truman, January 15, 1953

In 1953 an appeal from the Oval office was made by Harry Truman. He did not make any political statement, telling the nation about his feelings on the tenure of the President, most of the speeches dedicated to the political end of his reign, which coincided with the end of the Second world war and the beginning of the cold war, fighting in Korea and the implementation of the plan to rebuild Europe.

“The most important part of the work of the President consists in making decisions. Public documents can be circulated in the government, but then they go to the President’s Desk, and then have nowhere to go. The President — whoever they may be — makes the final decision, this job he can’t delegate to anyone. All this takes a lot of time, we have to work 17 hours a day without overtime pay for their work. The world is no more such a position, around which would be concentrated such a large responsibility and where you would have to take so many difficult decisions” (Harry S. Truman, 1953).

The second time, the tradition took root after Truman and to date, only one US President has made a farewell address to the nation, it was John Kennedy assassinated in Dallas in 1963. All such applications since Truman broadcast live on state television and radio stations.

Ronald Reagan, 11 Jan 1989

The presidency of Ronald Reagan had in 1980-e years — an extremely difficult time especially for US foreign policy. His first presidential term was marked by a new round of the cold war and the arms race with the Soviet Union, but in the second four years had a marked warming of relations between the two countries, which began after the beginning of perestroika and the coming to power in Moscow of Mikhail Gorbachev. Part of his farewell address to the nation Reagan dedicated the present and future of Soviet-American relations.

“Life has ways to remind you about the important things through insignificant events. During the Moscow summit (the leaders of the USSR and the USA in 1988. — RBC), Nancy (wife of Reagan. — RBC) decided to go shopping on the Arbat. Despite the fact that our access to the street took everyone by surprise, everybody knew us, called us by name and was trying to shake hands with us. We were simply swept away the human warmth. But just a few seconds, the KGB broke into our side and began to bump people in the crowd. It was an interesting point, which reminded me that the Soviet people who crave the world, run by the Communists. And the Communists have completely different views on what is individual freedom and human rights.

We must remain vigilant, but to continue to work together in order to reduce mutual distrust. I believe that President Gorbachev is different from previous Soviet leaders, he knows about the problems of their society and tries to fix them. We will work together to ensure that the Soviet Union ceases to be a threat. I want our new convergence continued, and so it will be exactly until we understand that the Soviet Union is also interested in it. You need to act on the principle of “trust but verify” and really look at things” (Ronald Reagan, 1989).

In his speech, Reagan summed up his innings, saying that there are two things he is most proud of is the growth of the economy, where for eight years his reign had created 19 million new jobs, and restore American morale: “America is again respected around the world, and she strives to be a leader”. The main task of the United States he called fundamental freedoms which their citizens — expression, entrepreneurship and religion.

George Bush, Sr., January 5, 1993

George Bush senior came to power in a period of huge change in the world: the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, the fall of the Berlin wall, however, these events for Americans relegated to second plan in connection with the unfavorable situation in the American economy. Bush took the country to a serious budget deficit, for the sake of deterrence which he had to break his campaign promise not to raise taxes, which led to his defeat while trying to get re-elected to the presidency.



George H. W. Bush speaks at United States Military Academy. 1993

Photo: Bebeto Matthews/AP

With his farewell speech Bush made at the United States Military Academy, better known as West point, the heads and cadets. Almost entirely it was dedicated to pride in the us army and the instructions which the outgoing President did as still acting commander. Speaking about potential threats to U.S. security, Bush mentioned Russia.

“As commander in chief, the President decides, one way or another affect the lives of every person in this country and around the world. Over the past four years the men and women who proudly wear the uniform of the U.S. Armed forces, had to carry out dangerous orders, but every time they did it with honor and professionalism.

I would like to say that it is now in the past and that the end of the cold war calls for the United States will be less. Yes, we understand that the end of the cold war — is good. Now a time of great hope, the danger of nuclear confrontation is greatly reduced, but this does not mean that the specter of war and threats to our security is no more. You need to deal with the risk of violence and chaos caused by tyrants and dictators, collecting weapons and using weapons of mass destruction. We may be witnessing the emergence of international terrorism, which will provide Americans a new, unprecedented threats” (Bush, 1993).

Bill Clinton, 18 January 2001

Bush replaced bill Clinton. The first time he experienced considerable difficulties, both administrative and political. Nevertheless, in his first presidential term was significant economic growth, especially in the high-tech sector. Low levels of inflation and unemployment allowed him to come to a second presidential campaign with high ratings, which guaranteed him four more years in the White house.

However, the second period was marked by several negative points, especially the NATO operation against Yugoslavia, as well as the sexual scandal with Monica Lewinsky, which nearly led to the impeachment of Clinton.

Farewell address Clinton to the nation was made in the oval office and became the shortest in history — it consisted of 1109 words, it is, for example, three times less than Reagan and Bush Sr., and almost six times less than Washington’s. Clinton’s statement was quite succinct: he spoke about the successes of their economic, environmental and demographic policy, then he focused on the need to fight poverty and terrorism, and strive to overcome any divisions in society. For the first time since the Reagan administration, the outgoing President of the United States in his farewell speech said not one word about Russia.

“If the wars of the twentieth century, especially the latter, in Kosovo and Bosnia, have taught us anything, it’s that we achieve their goals, protecting our values and becoming the head of the forces of freedom and peace. We need courage and determination to take on this responsibility to be a leader, to support our allies in word and deed and to give the global economy a human face to the expansion of trade has benefited all people in all countries have increased the level of life and revived the hope in the world” (bill Clinton, 2001).

George W. Bush, 15 January 2009

The resulting very controversial presidency of George W. Bush was marked by the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the biggest national tragedy since the attack on the military base in pearl Harbor, which occurred 60 years before that. Management response to the actions of the militants was the announcement of the war on terror, expressed primarily in the American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, it was very restrictive national legislation in the field of security. These topics were Central to the appeal of the Bush.

“Although our country is protected better than seven years ago, the most serious for our people remains the risk of new terrorist attacks. Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. America was not looking for this conflict and it does not deserve, but we have a sacred duty to perform. We must not let the will of their own complacency, we must remain resolute, and we must always remain vigilant.

At the same time, we should continue to show the world the confidence and a clear understanding of our purpose. In the face of threats from abroad may be tempted to withdraw into themselves, but we must reject isolationism and the accompanying protectionism. Sheltered within its borders, we will only increase the danger. In the twenty-first century, security and prosperity in the country depend on the spread of freedom abroad. If America will not lead the struggle for freedom, this struggle will not be led by no one” (George W. Bush, 2009).

The reign of Bush, who had no special problems in the re-election, in addition, was the strongest since the great depression of the economic crisis. A lot of internal problems, especially during the second presidential term, Bush has fallen off his rating — the moment of leaving the government he became one of the most unpopular of the existing American leaders in history.

Before leaving, Bush admitted he had made mistakes. “There are things that I, if I had the chance, would have done differently. And yet I have always acted in the interests of our country. You may not agree with some tough decisions I took, but I hope you’ll agree to make difficult decisions, I was not afraid,” said Bush. In his farewell speech, he, like his predecessor, also has never mentioned Russia.