Lee Cheek, Senior Fellow, The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), has co-authored an op-ed about George Washington for the September 1 issue of the Savannah Morning News. In “Government’s ‘Worst Enemy’? George Washington Himself Pointed to Partisanship,” Cheek, a professor of political science at East Georgia State College, and Sean Busick, a professor of history at Athens State University, maintain that Washington and the great experiment in republican government he did so much to create had a mortal weakness: “political partisanship.”

Dr. Lee Cheek, AHI Senior Fellow

Washington agreed that factions were “unhealthy and a danger to the country.” A healthy dose of civic virtue was what held factions together.

How much we have strayed from the founder’s vision “can easily be measured in our political partisanship.” In the Early Republic, United States politicians hardly ever campaigned for themselves.  In contrast, “Our politicians do not know how to stop campaigning . . .. We proudly announce our partisanship on our clothes, bumper stickers, and Facebook profiles.”

In his Farewell Address, Washington warned against partisanship. “It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption.” Good advice.