The Relation of Thomas Jefferson to American Foreign Policy, 1783-1793

The Relation of Thomas Jefferson to American Foreign Policy, 1783-1793

The Relation of Thomas Jefferson to American Foreign Policy, 1783-1793

The Relation of Thomas Jefferson to American Foreign Policy, 1783-1793

Excerpt

The limits of the period in which the foreign policy of the United States was first evolved and put into practice may be marked off by the Declaration of Independence and Jay's Treaty of 1794. It was within this stretch of years that the nation emerged and took its place among the powers of the world, albeit not that "separate and equal station" to which the ambitious framers of the Declaration aspired. Propitious as the circumstances were at the time of the introduction of this new member into the international family, the changes of the age which brought on a still greater revolution in France, forced quick and significant decisions on the part of the United States in its relations with the rest of the world, thus necessitating the enunciation of fundamental rules for controlling its foreign policy. With the three countries of Europe whose colonizing efforts of preceding centuries had laid the basis of American development, the United States struggled to reach understandings which would promote the realization of unhampered independence as well as provide rules for amicable intercourse.

Only a decade, however, separated the treaty of peace which assured the independence of the United States from the beginning of the war between the French Republic and monarchical Europe. That period tested severely the outcome of the American Revolution; it verified the unwelcome fact that although political independence was generally recognized, yet the French alliance and the French and Dutch debts remained to restrain that freedom; that while commercial independence was an object of highest importance, in fact the chief concern after 1783, nowhere did the United States receive such treatment as she sought; that even though the boundaries were established for the most part by treaty definition and with appreciation of the just claims of Spain and Great Britain, yet the integrity of the territory in the West was not respected by either power. Thus the obligations . . .

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