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Farewell Address-Dwight D. Eisenhower
04-04-2014, 01:30 PM
Post: #1
Farewell Address-Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Dwight D. Eisenhower: Farewell Address
delivered 17 January 1961

Good evening, my fellow Americans.
First, I should like to express my gratitude to the radio and television networks for the
opportunities they have given me over the years to bring reports and messages to our nation.
My special thanks go to them for the opportunity of addressing you this evening.
Three days from now, after half century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the
responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the
Presidency is vested in my successor. This evening, I come to you with a message of leavetaking
and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.
Like every other Like
every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor
with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity
for all.
Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of
great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the nation. My own
relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a
member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during
the war and immediate postwar
period, and finally to the mutually interdependent during
these past eight years. In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on
most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the nation good, rather than mere partisanship,
and so have assured that the business of the nation should go forward. So, my official
relationship with the Congress ends in a feeling on
my part of
gratitude that we have
been able to do so much together.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars
among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts,
America is today the strongest, the most influential, and most productive nation in the world.
Understandably proud of this preeminence,
we yet realize that America's leadership and
prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches, and military
strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human
Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep
the peace, to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity, and
integrity among peoples and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free
and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension, or
readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt, both at home and abroad.
Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the
world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology
global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insiduous [insidious] in
method. Unhappily, the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it
successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis,
but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the
burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we
remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and
human betterment.
Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small,
there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become
the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our
defenses? development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture? a dramatic
expansion in basic and applied research these
and many other possibilities, each possibly
promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.
But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to
maintain balance in and among national programs, balance between the private and the public
economy, balance between the cost and hoped for advantages, balance between the clearly
necessary and the comfortably desirable, balance between our essential requirements as a
nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual, balance between actions of
the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and
progress. Lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration. The record of many decades
stands as proof that our people and their Government have, in the main, understood these
truths and have responded to them well, in the face of threat and stress.
But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. Of these, I mention two only.

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty,
ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own
destruction. Our military organization today bears little relation to that known of any of my
predecessors in peacetime, or, indeed, by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American
makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no
longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a
permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million
men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on
military security alone more than the net income of all United States cooperations corporations.
Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new
in the American experience. The total influence economic,
political, even spiritual is
felt in
every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the
imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave
implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted
influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial
complex. The potential for
the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of
this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for
granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the
huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so
that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrialmilitary
has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has
become central? it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing
share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of
scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university,
historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a
revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a
government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old
blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination
of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money
is ever present and
is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be
alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a

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It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces,
new and old, within the principles of our democratic system ever
aiming toward the
supreme goals of our free society.
Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's
future, we you
and I, and our government must
avoid the impulse to live only for today,
plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot
mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their
political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not
to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.
During the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours,
ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be,
instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one
of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do
we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though
scarred by many fast frustrations past
frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certainty
agony of disarmament of
the battlefield.
Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we
must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose.
Because this need is so sharp and apparent, I confess that I lay down my official
responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed
the horror and the lingering sadness of war, as one who knows that another war could utterly
destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years, I
wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has
been made. But so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do
what little I can to help the world advance along that road.
So, in this, my last good night to you as your President, I thank you for the many
opportunities you have given me for public service in war and in peace. I trust in that in
that in
that service you find some things worthy. As for the rest of it, I know you will find
ways to improve performance in the future.
You and I, my fellow citizens, need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will
reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle,
confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations' great goals.
To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and
continuing aspiration: We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their
great human needs satisfied? that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the
full? that all who yearn for freedom may experience its few spiritual blessings.

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Those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibility? that all who are
insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity? and that the sources scourges
poverty, disease, and ignorance will be made [to] disappear from the earth? and that in the
goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding
force of mutual respect and love.
Now, on Friday noon, I am to become a private citizen. I am proud to do so. I look forward to
Thank you, and good night.
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