On the two-hundredth anniversary of George Washington's 1796 Farewell Address - one of the most influential but misunderstood expressions of American political thought - this book places the Address in the full context of American history and explains its enduring relevance for the next century. Generations of American political leaders have invoked the authority of the Address to shape foreign and domestic policy. With discussions about national character and personal responsibility dominating the current political landscape, there has been a resurgence of interest in the character of the nation's founders, particularly Washington's. The authors show how the Address expressed Washington's ideas for forming a national character that would cultivate the habits, morals, and civic virtues essential for stable republican self-government. An insightful and provocative analysis of the past, present, and future of American democracy and its most important citizen, this book will be of value to anyone concerned about the current state of American citizenship and the future role of the federal government.