Analysis Pages

Pathos in Farewell Address

Pathos Examples in Farewell Address:

Text of Washington's Address

🔒 5

"mutual cares, labors, and dangers...."   (Text of Washington's Address)

In this final paragraph, composed of one long sentence, Washington weaves together his anticipations for retirement with his hopes to live under a free government. In an appeal to pathos, he asks his audience to consider their shared missions and values. He concedes that this ideal government, or “happy reward,” can only be achieved with every American’s concerted efforts to care and to labor.

"Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?..."   (Text of Washington's Address)

Washington’s list of rhetorical questions appeal to the pathos of his readers. He implores them to continue to fight for a free nation, despite the vices, difficulties, or challenges they might encounter. With the interjection “Alas!” that punctuates the last rhetorical question of this paragraph, Washington expresses grief or concern for the nation should they allow their vices to prevent them from progressing.

" since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government...."   (Text of Washington's Address)

Washington takes a strongly isolationist stance in this address, going so far as to say that the influence of other nations is “one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government.” The word “baneful,” meaning “murderous,” suggests that the fate of the United States is at stake during negotiations about foreign policy. By using such life-and-death language, Washington appeals to his audience’s emotions in an effort to change their opinions toward policy.

"The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate...."   (Text of Washington's Address)

In this sentence, Washington discusses the mechanics of democratic power, much of which lies balanced between the population itself and the politicians who represent them. Washington accurately points out that while the representatives are ultimately those who make the decisions, their choices are swayed by the citizens they represent. Therefore, the president is appealing to his audience’s emotions by underscoring the power they possess and and then offering them counsel as if he were playing court advisor to their king.

"to the permanency of your felicity as a people..."   (Text of Washington's Address)

Washington states that the goal of his prescriptions is the ongoing “felicity,” or happiness, of the American people. Such a statement makes the audience more receptive to his ideas, since happiness is a nearly universally desired emotion. Moreover, Washington’s appeal to his audience’s felicity evokes the principles of the Declaration of Independence, which similarly ensures “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Analysis Pages