Portrait of George Washington

George Washington on Political Differences

Found in: George Washington: A Collection

Context matters - Washington penned this letter to his political ally, Alexander Hamilton in the late summer of 1792 just prior to his being elected president for the second time.


Differences in political opinions are as unavoidable as, to a certain point, they may, perhaps, be necessary; but it is exceedingly to be regretted that subjects cannot be discussed with temper on the one hand, or decisions submitted to without having the motives which led to them improperly implicated on the other: and this regret borders on chagrin when we find that men of abilities, zealous patriots, having the same general objects in view, and the same upright intentions to prosecute them, will not excercise more charity in deciding on the opinions and actions of one another. When matters get to such lengths, the natural inference is, that both sides have strained the Cords beyond their bearing, and, that a middle course would be found the best, until experience shall have decided on the right way, or, which is not to be expected, because it is denied to mortals, there shall be some infallible rule by which we could fore-judge events. (FROM TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY (Alexander Hamilton) August 26, 1792)