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Presidential Moments from History
In honor of President’s Day, three important moments from our presidential history are presented below.
Washington Puts An End to the Newburgh Conspiracy
In March 1783, after the last major battles of the Revolutionary War, whispers of a military uprising threatened the fragile American Republic. Soldiers in the Continental Army, camped at Newburgh, New York, were discontented with the government’s inability to pay them and the lack of funds for pensions.
In response, George Washington gave an emotional address to the army, charging them to “express your utmost horror and detestation of the man, who wishes, under any specious pretences, to overturn the liberties of our country; and who wickedly attempts to open the flood-gates of civil discord, and deluge our rising empire in blood.”
Photo: George Washington leads a charge in Dinesh D'Souza's latest film, America
Lincoln Gives His Moving Farewell Address
Abraham Lincoln’s “Farewell Address” was an impromptu speech given in Springfield, Illinois, shortly before leaving for his inauguration as President in Washington, D.C. Thousands had gathered to see him depart, and in response to their presence he gave a brief, unscripted address from the back of his train car.
The speech is known for Lincoln’s moving words about his gratitude and his debt to the people of Springfield, as well as his foresight in saying, “I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail.”
Photo: Abraham Lincoln gives his Farewell Address in Dinesh D'Souza's latest film, America
Ronald Reagan Speaks of America’s “Rendezvous With Destiny”
In October 1964, Ronald Reagan delivered a speech on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. In it, he spoke of “a time for choosing”, in which a choice must be made between rising up toward freedom or falling down into totalitarianism.
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny,” he said, famously ending his speech. “We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”