Late in his presidency, George Washington decided that he would serve only two four-year terms. At the end of eight years as president, he would step away from power and return to his former life as a planter in northern Virginia.
As he prepared to leave office, Washington wrote this farewell address. Alexander Hamilton helped craft the message and offered edits as the address went through a number of drafts. The completed address was published in the American Daily Advertiser, a newspaper in Philadelphia, on 19 September 1796. Many other newspapers subsequently published it.
Washington left office upon the inauguration of John Adams on 4 March 1797. Washington returned to his beloved home at Mount Vernon, where he lived as a farmer and private citizen until his death on 14 December 1799.
The New York Public Library houses the original handwritten, 32-page final manuscript.
The handout is designed with classroom needs in mind. It includes the complete, unabridged text of Washington’s Farewell Address as well as a brief introductory text (the same as the paragraphs above) to provide background and context to the reader. The text is set in easy-to-read, 11-point type. Lines are numbered for easy reference in classroom discussion. Lines on the right side of the page provide space for the reader to take notes. (These lines use the same spacing as college-ruled notepaper.) The document's title as well as country and year of publication are clearly indicated. The handout is optimized for black-and-white printing and to save printer/photocopier ink/toner to reduce your printing costs.