George Washington a Progressive?

George Washington, by John Trumbull

George Washington, by John Trumbull

On this day, January 8, in 1790, President George Washington presented the first State of the Union Message to Congress. He outlined a progressive program that recommends itself to our current Congress.

Yes, a strong national defense is necessary, but

“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 economy.”

Immigration reform is needed, and soon.

“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.”

Government must promote economic development and strengthen infrastructure.

“The advancement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures by all proper means will not, I trust, need recommendation; but I can not forbear intimating to you the expediency of giving effectual encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home, and of facilitating the intercourse between the distant parts of our country by a due attention to the post-office and post-roads.”

Government should promote science and culture.

“Nor am I less persuaded that you will agree with me in opinion that there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”

Education is vital to the “security of a free constitution.”

“Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by affording aids to seminaries of learning already established, by the institution of a national university, or by any other expedients will be well worthy of a place in the deliberations of the legislature.”

And in conclusion …

“The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed, and I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.”

The Tea Party reveres the founding fathers. Its followers should heed the recommendations of this hero of the American revolution, “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.

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