Foreign Policy of Founding Fathers

By admin ~ February 18th, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

Albert Einstein said: “Politics is more difficult than physics.”

I certainly agree considering how many of our national political figureheads over the years have aligned themselves to do business with the Saudi Royal family and other heavily financed special interest groups to finance their political and personal objectives.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy said: “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.”

Perhaps we would do well to hear from our Founding Fathers and revisit the foreign policy they gave us.

…Neither can any external coercive power convince the understanding of the poorest idiot, nor fines and prisons be judged fit and adequate penalties for faults purely intellectual…. William Penn (1644-1718) The Great Case of Liberty and Conscience 1670

The strongest is never strong enough to be always the master, unless he transforms his strength into right, and obedience into duty. Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) The Social Contract 1762

The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment; but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed, which is perpetually to be conquered. Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Second Speech on Conciliation with America, the Thirteen Resolutions, March 22, 1775

Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation–the last arguments to which kings resort. Patrick Henry (1736-1799) Speech at the Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitor? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desirable? No more than of face and stature. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) The Federalist Papers 1787

Politics, like religion, hold up torches of martyrdom to the reformers of error.
Thomas Jefferson

Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on offices, a rottenness begins in his conduct. Thomas Jefferson

Reason obeys itself; and Ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) Address and Declaration 1791

Force cannot change right. Thomas Jefferson – To John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

I repeat, that I have no disposition to withhold any information which the duty of my station will permit, or the public good shall require to be disclosed. George Washington – Address to the House of Representatives, March 30, 1796

I have always given it as my decided opinion that no nation had a right to inter-meddle in the internal concerns of another; and that, if this country could, consistent with its engagements, maintain a strict neutrality and thereby preserve peace. George Washington – Letter to James Monroe, August 25, 1796

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all. …The nation which indulges toward another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. George Washington – Farewell Address, September 17, 1797

Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none should be our motto. Thomas Jefferson – First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801

If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) Letter to William Short, 1791

We certainly cannot deny to other nations that principle whereon our own government is founded, that every nation has a right to govern itself internally under what forms it pleases, and to change these forms at its own will. Thomas Jefferson – To Thomas Pinckney, December 30, 1792

Europe, by her arms and by her negotiations, by force and by fraud, has extended her dominion over them all, Africa, Asia, an America have successively felt her domination. The superiority she has long maintained has tempted her to plume herself as the Mistress of the World, and to consider the rest of mankind as created for her benefit.
Alexander Hamilton on Colonialism, The Federalist Papers 1787

My ardent desire is to keep the United States free from political connections with every other country, to see them independent of all and under the influence of none. George Washington (Letter to Patrick Henry, October 9, 1795)

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Samuel Adams (1722-1803) Father of the American Revolution in an article he wrote to the Boston Gazette, October 14, 1771

Political freedom includes in it every other blessing. All the pleasures of riches, science, virtue, and even religion itself derive their value from liberty alone. Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) Founder of the American Public Schools to Catharine Macaulay, January 18, 1769

Remember, that in all countries where the freedom of the poor has been taken away, in whole or in part, that the freedom of the rich lost its defence. The circle has ever continued to constrict, till lessening to a point it became absolute. Thomas Paine – A serious address to the people of Pennsylvania 1778
This country, which has given to the world the example of physical liberty, owes to it that of moral emancipation also. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) To John Adams, January 22, 1821

Because people may betray themselves …people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government they should watch over it, as well as obey it. James Madison (1751-1836) Essay in the National Gazette, December 20, 1792

The liberty of the press is essential to the security of the state. John Adams, Free-Press Clause, Massachusetts Constitution 1780

In every human breast, God has implanted a principle, which we call love of freedom; it is impatient of oppression and pants for deliverance. Phyllis Wheatley (1753-1784) The Boston Post-Boy 1774

“Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they established these great self-evident truths, that when in the distant future some man, some faction, some interest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich men, or none but white men, were entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence . . . so that truth, and justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land.” Abraham Lincoln on the founding fathers, August 17, 1858

“Give me liberty or give me death.” Patrick Henry March 23, 1775

“The people are the source of all authority and power.” John Adams, 1774

“I am persuaded and fully convinced that a permanent standing army [is a necessity].” George Washington, to Congress, September 2, 1776

“O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare to oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted around the globe. O! Receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.” Thomas Paine, Common Sense, January 10, 1776

“We have not yet applied to any foreign power for assistance, nor offered our commerce for their friendship.” Benjamin Franklin, 1775

“I trust the experience of error will enable us to act better in the future.” George Washington, 1781

“I have not yet begun to fight.” John Paul Jones, 1779

We mistake the object of our government, if we hope or wish that it is to make us respectable abroad. Conquest or superiority among other powers is not or ought not ever to be the object of republican systems. Charles Pinckney (1757-1824) Constitutional Convention, June 25, 1787

Indulging no passions which trespass on the rights or the repose of other nations, it has been the true glory of the United States to cultivate peace by observing justice, and to entitle themselves to the respect of the nations at war by fulfilling their neutral obligations with the most scrupulous impartiality. James Madison (1751-1836) First Inaugural Address – March 4, 1809

America well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extraction, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit. John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) Address, July 4, 1821

Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be America’s heart, her benedictions and her prayers. But she does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. John Quincy Adams – Address, July 4, 1821

In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy so to do. James Monroe – Annual message to Congress, December 2, 1823

Separated as we are from Europe by the great Atlantic ocean, we can have no concern in the wars of the European Governments nor in the causes which produce them. – James Monroe – Annual message to Congress, December 7, 1824

I confess I have the same fears for our South American brethren; the qualifications for self-government in society are not innate. They are the result of habit and long training, and for these they will require time and probably much suffering. Thomas Jefferson (Letter to Edward Everett, March 27, 1824)

“We must make the best of mankind as they are, since we cannot have them as we wish.” George Washington, 1776

“The advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my conviction is that the Union of the States be cherished and perpetuated.” President James Madison, “Advice to My Country,” October 1834

Malice toward none, charity for all.

Self-government does not come without a struggle. Certainly freedom is not free. It was purchased for us by the lives, fortunes, blood, and sacred of honor of our Founding Fathers. Let us therefore hold dear to the spirit in which they walked and founded our republic. May we always remain one nation under God, united in purpose and power.

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