George Washington’s farewell warning

Updated 11:17 AM EST, Thu January 12, 2017

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John Avlon: The primary point of Washington's farewell was not to recite his administration's accomplishments.

Instead, he issued a "warning from a parting friend" about forces he feared could destroy the American experiment

Editor’s Note: John Avlon is the author of “Washington’s Farewell: The Founding Father’s Warning to Future Generations” and editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN) —  

As President Obama prepares to give his farewell address in Chicago on Tuesday, he’s following a tradition begun by the first founding father.

The original farewell address was George Washington’s final revolutionary act. In an open letter addressed to his “friends and fellow citizens” and published in a Philadelphia newspaper, Washington delivered the greatest scoop in American history: the first president would decline a third term and secure the peaceful transfer of power.