Americanism & Our Civic Rituals

Americanism & Our Civic Ritual of Freedom builds on George Washington’s farewell address—the letter he wrote to the American people in 1796 after deciding not to run for a third presidential term. The goal is to establish national rituals that affirm the social contract established and fought for by prior generations of Americans.

George Washington’s Farewell Address

Having served as president for the first eight years of the young nation, George Washington’s concern centered on the safety of the Constitution and survivability of the eight-year-old United States. With the aid of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, Washington composed a “Farewell Address”, his political testament “to the People of the United States”, designed to inspire and guide future generations as well to point to potential threats to the republic.

Many religions have established rituals that sustain them from generation to generation. The Passover Seder as a framework for a national ritual can take place as part of the national holiday of Thanksgiving.  As a central part of the ritual, we can reaffirm Washington’s call for recognizing the importance of being Americans regardless of the various, multiple identities we hold important that define and energize us. 

Americanization Day is but one expression of the nation-wide endeavor. When Cleveland invited all her citizens who had been naturalized within a twelvemonth to assemble and receive a public welcome, to sit on a platform and be made much of, to listen to national songs and patriotic speeches, and to take home, every man, a flag and a seal of the city, she set a good example which will be widely followed. 

On Constitution Day, Citizens across the nation can join together to discuss strategies to solve problems impacting the entire nation, and  work to unite across regions, religions and ideologies. Using a framework and format that promotes communication and dialogue, aided by digital technology, moderated by a representative nonpartisan organizing body, citizens can educate ourselves to counter the excitation of passions by politicians and other representatives of factions, hold political parties accountable not only during election time by engage with them utilizing tools of active citizenship, take to the streets to petition the government when it doesn’t represent us. 

The first Thanksgiving 1621 / J.L.G. Ferris

Summary: Pilgrims and Natives gather to share meal.

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