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Quotation of the Day…

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… is from pages 187-188 of my colleague Chris Coyne’s important 2008 book, After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy [2] (footnotes excluded; links added):

Consider for instance that a commitment to free trade and non-intervention can be traced back to several early U.S. leaders.  In fact, in his farewell address in 1796 [3], George Washington emphasized that a general rule for U.S. foreign policy should be as follows: “In extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.  So far as we have already formed engagements let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith….  It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.”  While calling for the United States to isolate itself from long-term political entanglements, Washington recognized trade as a basis for interaction with other nations.

Similarly, in his inaugural speech on March 4, 1801 [4], Thomas Jefferson stated as a general principle that the United States would pursue “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.”

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