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What did George Washington want for his country?

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George Washington

I recently saw an ad for some slogan t-shirts and one particular slogan caught my eye. It was a quote attributed to George Washington that I wasn’t familiar with:

The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference and they deserve a place of honor with al
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference and they deserve a place of honor with al

The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference and they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good. When firearms go all goes, therefore we need them every hour.

In George Washington’s address to the second session of the first Congress, he urged promoting the manufacture of arms.

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s Liberty teeth and keystone under Independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizens’ firearms are indelibly related. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this Land knows firearms and more than 99 99/100 per cent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference and they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good. When firearms go all goes, therefore we need them every hour.

I was curious about what Washington actually said about firearm manufacture, so I looked up Washington’s first state of the union address to see. What Washington did say on the subject is:

Among the many interesting objects, which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.

A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a Uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.

The proper establishment of the Troops which may be deemed indispensible, will be entitled to mature consideration. In the arrangements which may be made respecting it, it will be of importance to conciliate the comfortable support of the Officers and Soldiers with a due regard to œconomy.

There are many other things in Washington’s address that seem to be of great importance to him that are all too often ignored by sort of people who would cherry-pick the quote about being armed. Washington’s desires are also being ignored or under-valued by our current government. So what sorts of things were important to George Washington? Here are a few:

Paid professionals in the State Department:

The interests of the United States require, that our intercourse with other nations should be facilitated by such provisions as will enable me to fulfil my duty in that respect, in the manner, which circumstances may render most conducive to the public good: And to this end, that the compensations to be made to the persons, who may be employed, should, according to the nature of their appointments, be defined by law; and a competent fund designated for defraying the expenses incident to the conduct of foreign affairs.

Various considerations also render it expedient, that the terms on which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of Citizens, should be speedily ascertained by a uniform rule of naturalization.

facilitating the intercourse between the distant parts of our Country by a due attention to the Post-Office and Post Roads.

there is nothing, which can better deserve your patrionage, than the promotion of Science and Literature. Knowledge is in every Country the surest basis of public happiness.

And by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of Society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness, cherishing the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy, but temperate vigilence against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws.

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