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|thumbnail|left|300px|George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, 1797]]
To announce his decision not to seek a third term as President, George Washington presented his Farewell Address in a newspaper article on September 17, 1796. Frustrated by French meddling in U.S. politics, Washington warned the nation to avoid permanent alliances with foreign nations and to rely instead on temporary alliances for emergencies. Washington’s efforts to protect the fragile young republic by steering a neutral course between England and France during the French Revolutionary Wars was made extremely difficult by the intense rhetoric flowing from the pro-English Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, and the pro-French, personified by Thomas Jefferson.