"The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in
extending our commercial relations to have as little political
connection as possible... Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of
any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of
European ambition, rivalships, interest, humor, or caprice?... It is our
true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of
the foreign world."
by:
George Washington
(1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country'
Date:
September 19, 1796
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Reader comments about this quote:
GBII said much the same thing... Why is easy to answer: Because we are all human beings... a part of a much larger community than just our household... our neighborhood... our village... our county... our state... our nation... we are all human beings, and should want to be a part of that community just as we do for each of these smaller organizational units.
 -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
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    Reston, only if you're a Socialist... Yes, we are all human beings and members of this planet we call Earth, this is true; therefore, in looking towards the progress of humanity, let's look at the fall-out of our decisions on an international level. There IS something that has set America apart from the rest of the world - In this day of "technology", what has put America at the front of every major discovery in science, made her the leading food producer for the last century, helped her create more wealthy men and women, and has enabled herself to be the international super-power for approx 200 years? We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal - then why aren't all the other nations in the world as wealthy and as prosperous as those in the U.S.? It's insulting to America that George W Bush could be ever be associated with George Washington-- and, NO, they aren't saying the same thing... GBll is a tyrant who is spreading "democracy" throughout the world by forced compulsion - George Washington fought against tyranny, denounced democracy, abdicated his power, and helped to establish a Republic by the free voice of the people... BIG DIFFERENCE!! That's what has made America who she is - Freedom! No one here is going to argue against world peace - but Washington is absolutely right, we SHOULD NOT bind ourselves down by making promises to other countries that don’t promote the same values that we in America do - that would undermine our own national security, let alone our sovereignty-- The U.N. is one of the greatest facades the world has ever known - it does not seek "world peace"! It is hell-bent on world domination - Washington's words have never been more poignant.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    RIght on Logan... One thing our Founding Father's understood is that the real threat to liberty (not license) is GOVERNMENT, for it has a monopoly on the use of force. Of course, as another said, God must rule the affairs of men, or tyrants will. It is always astounding to me that anyone, particularly an American, can look around them and say WE are the evil in this world when in fact we are the most generous, benevolent, and self sacrificing nation in history. Woe to those who call good evil and evil good.
     -- MK, Houston, TX     
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    I agree with Reston with the vision of the human community -- we are all one family. And many of us could benefit immensely if we were to pool our 'family' resources together for the common good. And if we can mutually agree what that common good is and may voluntarily support that goal (or not), then indeed the collective organization and processes will further all who participate. HOWEVER, if I cannot find common ground to support the vision for the 'family' then I should not be compelled to 'serve'. When there is no choice, there is no liberty. I may love my brother, but I may not want to live with him -- we do not have the same desires. In a free Republic, people may associate any way they wish -- they may live in communes and share everything -- and some people do benefit from such a 'lifestyle' during certain periods of their lives. The simple difference is the power to say NO. Reston may have a great idea for the community with many supporters, but if I don't like it, I do not have to contribute to it. As a free people, we reserve the right to give or withold our support.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    At the time these words were expressed, George Washington's policy made sense. They do not make sense for today. The United States should form strong alliances with any nation that truly supports the Universal Declaraton of Human Rights, for as long as that nation does so. More than 2 billion people now struggle to survive nder totalitarian or authoritarian dictatorships. The growing alliances and collaboration among these terrorists is a serious threat to every nation that wishes to enjoy freedom. The United States cannot be beaten, but it could be destroyed, if it turns its back on the oppressed peoples of the world. There is no good thing to be gained by our total political isolation.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    All confederacies are formed voluntarily, but few members have ever been allowed to leave as agreed. Washington knew how hard fighting for Independence was -- why risk it now? Any "permanent" alliance with foreign nations endangers Independence (i.e. Self-Reliance). Of course, if it weren't for France, the American Revolution would have ended differently -- but we compensated France for their support -- we did not merge our two nations into one. And the UN Declaration of Human Rights is not a writ from the People stating what rights are inherent -- no, it is a Declaration of what human rights are -- period -- if it is not written, it ain't a right -- and if it is erased, it ain't a right any more either. Many of the rights in the Declaration of Human Rights are government entitlements, not rights. It is a con with the same goal -- centralization of power into fewer and fewer hands -- and it isn't yours.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Washington's policy still makes sense. For some reason, Americans seem to enjoy recalling her founding fathers as country bumpkins who didn't have a focus on reality or a foresight to see the problems of the future. Such is the problem of the ages: each new generation claims to have a new set of problems that has never been dealt with before, which requires some "new innovations" to combat these new problems. Such we have seen with our own current President who has made it his point to take away the freedom of the people because it is necessary in order to protect them from the 'terrorists' -- this drastic measure, they claim, is justified because we have never been in this kind of situation before. That is bogus! The founding fathers didn't have to see all the new ways we've found to kill people to know what principles to build a Republic on. They knew the history of what makes or breaks a Republic ■ and they established this nation accordingly. The principles of a Republic are as applicable today as they were in the days of Sparta. Even Machiavelli talked about treatise and alliances within a Republic - If a Republic is going to be a bully to other nations and take on the role of a police force, then yes, treatise are not only a good idea, but are necessary. The best possible situation, however, should be to establish "friendships" with other countries away from alliances or treatise. Yes, we should become "friendly" and establish these friendships with other countries, sure; however, it is never a good idea to bind a Republic down to certain unmovable terms under another country - there are few things that will destroy sovereignty faster than a treaty or alliance. Time does not change principle.
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Our politicians want power and therefore steer us directly into the business of foreign nations. It is wrong, immoral and unconstitutional.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
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    (1) E. Archer: Name one of the Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that are government entitlements. You wrote: "Many of the rights in the Declaration of Human Rights are government entitlements," so name one. (2) I wrote that the condition for maintaining the proposed alliance (not membership in a confederation) would be strict adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; including a clear message to potential violators in the written treaty, of what the results would be of the violation of the conditions, would leave no doubt as to the legitimate cause of dissolution of the alliance. (3) Logan: We have no alliance with the regimes in China, Cuba, or several other dictatorships, but the degree of commerce engaged in with them clearly reflects a friendship. We are salleged to have an embargo against Cuba, but are Cuba's 11th greatest trading partner. We support tyranny.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    David, No problem -- here is a link to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It sounds good at the beginning, but the fine print is in the last Articles. Look at Articles 21 through 30 - here are a few excerpts:

    Article 21.2 Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (Who decides what those public services are to be?)

    Article 22. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. (Wow, social security is now a right -- and the UN is authorized to promote the development of our personalities, how sweet -- we won't be so boring at cocktail parties.)

    Article 23.1 Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (Yes, a right to work whether they have any skills or not -- and a right to unemployment benefits.)

    Article 23.2 Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (This is so broad, but the essense is Labor is to be controlled - so long to the Free Market.)

    Article 23.3 Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (Hmm, how can we require employers (i.e. other 'people') to fulfil the worker's 'right' to be compensated to suit one's dignity? Some jobs suck -- take it or leave it.)

    Article 24. Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay. (Oh, how nice, vacations are now 'rights'.)

    Article 25.1 Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (Hmm, the People have a right to government assitance... a natural born right? Just what are the responsibilities of the people if life is an entitlement from the government?)

    Article 25.2 Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. (Again, people are reduced to mere wards of the State.)

    Article 26.1 Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (While I am in favor of Education, it is not a right -- it is an opportunity and a gift from our fellow man -- you ultimately get what you pay for, by the way.)

    Article 26.2 Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality (who has decided what that is?) and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.

    Article 27.2 Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author. (Who decides what is moral?)

    Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized. (Everyone is "entitled" to a world order -- don't worry, you've got what's coming to you.)

    Article 29.1 Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (So the UN is responsible for telling us our duties and developing our personalities?)

    Article 29.2 In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (In other words, whatever we say goes, forever.)

    Article 29.3 These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations. (In other words, this declaration is perfect and any attempt to alter it is unlawful.)

    Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein. (i.e. don't even think about trying to oppose the UN's authority to speak for the People.)
     -- E Archer, NYC     

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    E. Archer has put his finger on one of the salient aspects of this quote; the word 'permanent'. || entitle: tr.v. 1. To give a name or title to. 2. To furnish with a right or claim to something -- entitlement n. - AHD || So here's a 'for instance': Article 5 "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." - http://www.uusc.org/info/udhr2.html In other words, everyone has the right not to be subjected to maltreatment. || In case there's some confusion brought about by recent application of the word 'entitlement', 'entitlements' are not limited to 'financial' benefits alone. Our Constitution spells out our 'entitlements' both in its body and in its amendments. Those are, in fact, 'government entitlements' (government by the people and for the people). We do indeed support tyranny when it serves 'our' (er, that would be 'business and national interests') purposes. This fact, among other hypocrisies, could, ... just could, be ONE of the factors contributing to our cynicism. Logan; you reason well but, psst, it's 'treaties' - lol (couldn't resist - sorry).
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Well, that's what you get for only getting 2 hours of sleep a night (for the last week), a newborn, and 21 credits at school. Thanks for the input. lol
     -- Logan, Memphis, TN     
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    Timeless wisdom.
     -- Dale Morfey, Fort Smith, AR     
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    Regarding Article21.2, what is your point? The question is not what those services are to be, but that all have equal access. Is something unacceptable with that? Regarding Article 22, what specifically do you object to here? There is only a guarantee of equal rights, not a specific imposition of values of another. Regarding Article 23.1, do you seriously oppose laws that protect workers' rights, or feel that workers have none? Regarding Article 24, don't you know that 2 billion people are slaves? Regarding Article 25, millions are prohibitedfrom work solely because they do not support the regimes that control their nation. Regarding Article 26, education is unavailable to billions, often due to government mismanagement of public revenues. Most founders of the United States agreed with the education of the public. Nothing is free. Regarding Article 27, your question does not refute the right. Regarding Article 28, it has no meaning different than that for which we have institutions that are supposed to enforce laws and standards. Regarding Article 29.1, it does not propose what you insinuate, and remains true. Regarding Article 29.2, it merely expresses that we should be protected against unreasonable obligations. I do not agree with a couple of the Articles in question, Article 29.3, for example, which encompasses purposes not related to the rights outlined in the Declaration itself; and Article 23 leaves some questions unresolved. But overall and overwhelmingly that which is proposed by the Declaration is very resonable, and is not overtly an imposition of values not already included in the Constitution of the United States.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    Logan - Congratulations!!! (no, not on the 2 hours - lol) My best wishes to you and your family.
     -- Terry Berg, Occidental, CA     
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    Congrats, Logan. Take care of the newborn!
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
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    David, You asked for one example of an entitlement in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- I showed you many. We can debate social services 'til the cows come home -- the fact remains, if social security is a 'right' then funding it is a 'duty' -- we end up perverting personal responsibility into a duty to serve the State who in turn will take care of us. This is the creed of feudalism. When the people discover they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the Republic. (Franklin)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer: You avoid the questions. Is it because you cannpt answer them? What you object to are reasonable measures. I do not agree with financial support of bums, but services to the disabled and the elderly did not originate with socialist rhetoric. My questions were specific; your avoidance is general.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    David, I believe what I have posted speaks for itself. You promote Statism, I do not. The fatal flaw with the Universal Declaration of Rights is that government entitlements have been defined as rights -- which they are not. Our inalienable rights are considered God-given -- insurance benefits are not. Stop worshipping banks and 'credit'.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer: Stop assuming things about me, and using them to criticize me, when you have no clue as to what I worship or what I ultimately promote. I like to think I promote justice. And I do not worship credit. You have heard the term ad hominem attack? Try to avoid it.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    If you do not depend on credit nor put faith in insurance programs, why do you espouse them? When will you admit that all these social services that you claim as your rights cannot be paid for without borrowing indefinitely from the Fed/IMF/World Bank? Think, man -- where is the money going to come from? Do you really think the system is working? Read the Communist Manifesto -- here is just a snippet (with a link to the entire Manifesto). Your posted arguments (statist and socialist) are synonymous with its planks. That is not an assumption -- it is obvious. Since I do not ever expect you to change your stance, I have nothing more to say in this thread. I will finish by saying that George Washington was an incredible man -- one of the wisest in American history. We have not been blessed with a leader such as he since. I urge all Americans to heed his words.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    (1) We agree on George Washington. (2) You are wrong about my ideology. (3) The social security fund was designed to be independent of the general fund, inviolable by the very ones who later raped it into failure. Those responsible for its failure are our elected officials, who remain immune from prosecution. (4) The circumstances and conditions of Washington's time were not those of today. Washington today would not support commerce with the tyrants with whom we do business.
     -- David L. Rosenthal, Hollywood     
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    I think it was great magnific congrats!!!
     -- Natisha Rinei Paulino, Manila, Philippines     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Tyranny never serves us. By us I mean the vast majority of business and people's interests. This is a falsehood. We were in South America murdering and repressing people because psycopathic morons took bribes from the US Banana company. We are in Afghanistan because a few benefit at the expense of nearly everyone else. This manufactured recession is the product of Bush and mostly Obama printing 18 trillion dollars and not distributing it to US business but to a few banksters who in turn paid them off and helped win their offices. It is the very few who are hijacking our democracy at the expense of nearly everyone else. And contrary to popular misconceptions we also have less wealthy people than ever before. In fact in 1975 dollars we have less millionaires and shudder to think we have less billionaires. The very very few not even the so called 1 percent even less. We are hijacked by self-serving morons and if we let them they will completely destroy our entire nation and all we have built for all these many years. What I hate is so many on the so-called left just repeat what are lies generated by these band of criminals. O'Bomba is as much a crook as Bush was if not more. We need to spend at least 5 hours a day sorting through what is actually going on. And make a pact with our self not to be brainwashed by the crooks through CNN and Fox and MSNBC(to a lesser but very complex extent they too are engaged in massive deceptions).
     -- James Rodgers, Dupont Circle     
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     -- Anonymous, Dallas      
    Idiots. The Founding Fathers were protecting their own land and property rights. The Revolution: Middle class exploits lower class, fights off the rich. Middle class becomes the rich and not much changes. That's ALL THERE IS TO IT.
     -- Anonymous, hhh     
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    Nothing is as simple as good vs. Evil. It's not freedom fighters vs. Dictators. If you've read any material besides your high school text book you would know that money and control is usually at the core of "fighting for freedom". Washington Jefferson and others did a great job for the people at this countries birth. Id rather listen to their agless message from 250 years ago than give the united nations power over me
     -- M.T. Manich     
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     -- someone, somewhere      
    Sad that we have refused to listen to our Founding Fathers; especially George Washington in his farewell address.

    Semper Fi.
     -- Bruski, Naples FL     
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    David and Reston, you are truly nuts, unless, of course, you are socialists, but I repeat myself.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    ABSOLUTELY ! ! ! We hold this truth to be self evident, proven through out history over, and over, and over again.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    David, charity is a grace which we extend to one another. It's application is personal and voluntary. As necessary as good will is for the prosperity of a people, it cannot be transformed into a legal obligation -- not to mention the receipt of such charity as a 'right.' The government is not supposed to be the supplier of all our needs or even to extend charity at all -- that is the domain of the People to give to whom they choose for their own reasons and purposes -- they will love whom they wish without compulsion.

    Most people who espouse statism ignore the origin of many of the social ills of the nation -- most can be traced to the social engineering being attempted. You can't expect to break a stallion without the animal trying to buck the rider. What the statists want is for the people to be domesticated like farm animals -- and that is what we are getting as government solutions.

    A fascist utopia is hardly a better arrangement than Liberty and Responsibility -- yes, different worlds will emerge depending on which ideology dominates. The spirit of Liberty is nearly impossible to crush -- so as long as the people 'think' they are free, then there will be little resistance, and with time, without actually having the skills and experience to live free, we find ourselves dependent upon the state for nearly everything. And back the pendulum swings ... ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Biblical inerrancy. No doubt the providence of God can be ascertained. For With Washington's very words, destiny was experienced. Authority, heard every so deeply, with the meekness of Moses. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it. ( Psalm 90:12,16,17 ) Freedom from bondage, the story of old. The garden of the Lord, joy and gladness shall be found therein. ' Hearken unto me, my people ; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and my arms shall judge the people; the [ isles ] shall wait upon me, and on my arm shall they trust. " ( Isaiah 51:4,5. ) ' Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. ( Psalm 80:17 ). " No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. " No reception can be so congenial to my feelings as a quiet entry devoid of ceremony. President George Washington, his inaugural address. His precedents were fixed on true principles. So why not heed his words. " The sacred fire of Liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people "
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
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    George Washington was a wise Non-Interventionist and not by any means an "Isolationist" as so many are completely wrong in attempting to refer to him.
    No doubt there are many Progressive Socialists whether they be Republicans or Democrats who wish to embroil themselves in the agenda of the Military Industrial Complex's and the U.N. agenda to keep this sovereign nation and its people in all out never ending wars .. ignoring Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution that mandates that the U.S. Congress must foremost Declare War before getting itself involved in any and all foreign entanglements.
    -- George Washington: "The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure." (1793.)

     -- Mary - MI     
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    NON-INTERVENTIONISTS - NOT ISOLATIONISTS
    -- "To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere neutrality toward belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences to a decision of them by an appeal to arms; to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities, so degrading to all countries and so baneful to free ones; to foster a spirit of independence too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves and too elevated not to look down upon them in others...." James Madison
    Madison's Inaugural Address - The American Presidency Project - March 4, 1809

    "The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.... Trust in temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies... steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." (President George Washington, Farewell Address, 1797)

    "My policy has been, and will continue to be, while I have the honor to remain in the administration of the government, to be upon friendly terms with, but independent of, all the nations of the earth. To share in the broils of none. To fulfil our own engagements. To supply the wants, and be carriers for them all: Being thoroughly convinced that it is our policy and interest to do so." -- George Washington
    (1732-1799) Founding Father, 1st US President, 'Father of the Country' - Source: 1795 - letter to Gouverneur Morris, ref: Washington's Maxims, 54.

    "Honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none," (President Thomas Jefferson, Inaugural Address, 1801)
     -- Mary - MI     
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