“Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.
The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize.
But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.”
The Love of Liberty
In 1796, there was no doubt – the people of America loved liberty. They had experienced first hand what it was like to have your freedom limited and curtailed, even denied. We have all heard the phrase “you never know a good thing until it’s gone.” This could not have been truer than in this instance.
You add on trials and adversities, extreme suffering and hardship, and you have a recipe for freedom not just being appreciated, but loved. Interwoven, as Washington so eloquently put it, with every ligament of their hearts.
There was nothing Washington needed to say to make them love or want freedom any more than they already did. Their attachment to it was already so firm and resolute, nothing could shake it.
Fast forward to today. While there are millions of patriots of whom it still could be said, the love of liberty is interwoven in their very being, there are those who would call themselves Americans who, by their actions show that they do not love liberty at all.
What do I mean by that? The most striking example is that of the pro-abortion movement. Science has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that unborn babies can feel pain, that life begins at conception. Yet in this advanced, scientific age, there are those who would willingly murder the most helpless humans among us. This theft of the unborn’s right to live, their freedom to live, demonstrates in the most painful way how little these abortion (murder) advocates really care about liberty.
Thomas Paine once said – “He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
Another clear example is those who would try and deny the freedom of speech to those with whom they disagree. Or those who would try and take away the freedom of self-defense. Or those who would rather see the government spending your money than you having the freedom to use it as you see fit.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. No longer is America united, woven together by a strong love of liberty. True patriots still remain, no doubt. However, America has changed since 1796.
Palladium: “Something that affords effectual defense, protection and safety; as when we say, the trial by jury is the palladium of our civil rights.”
Washington makes it clear that everything that we love depends on a united America. Our independence, homeland tranquility, peace abroad, safety, prosperity, and liberty itself depend on America moving forward as one.
There will be those who will covertly and insidiously try and undermine our union. And if they succeed, those things that I just listed will start to fade away.
This will not be the first time that Washington appears to be seeing the future. His warning to America to beware of those who would try and destroy our unity is so prescient as to be almost scary.
Darkness will always try and destroy the light. Freedom is one of the greatest lights to ever brighten this fallen world. Freedom depends on unity for its preservation. For this reason, Washington is incredibly adamant that America do every single thing in their power to maintain their unity, to stand up against anything that would threaten it.
Does it feel like our political safety and prosperity are threatened here in America? I would argue that it doesn’t just feel like that, our political safety and prosperity are under direct, imminent threat.
Washington’s urging to remain united is something we should take to heart. However, Washington’s plea must be understood in light of his belief that America was united around freedom. There can be no unity with those who spit on the liberty that is interwoven in our hearts.
How can we unite with those who hate the very liberty that we so highly prize? At that point, those who hate liberty are the very ones Washington was warning us about. And it is our duty to speak the Truth no matter what, stand for freedom no matter what, and indignantly frown “upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.”