"'Tis Our True Policy To Steer Clear Of Permanent Alliances, With Any Portion Of The Foreign World"
Context: In his final presidential address Washington describes various problems facing the new democratic government. In domestic affairs, he warns against the possible despotism of a militant two-party system; he warns against the insidious tendency of one governmental department to encroach upon another and thereby exceed its rightful sphere; he calls governmental support of religion and morality indispensable to political prosperity; he states the necessity of supporting institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge; he cautions against the accumulation of an excessive national debt. In foreign affairs, he advises: "Observe good faith and justice toward all Nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all." To this end America must not invoke sympathy for some favorite nation; "the great rule of conduct" is to cultivate commercial relations but to shun political connections. He cautions:
Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote, relation.–Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. . . . 'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world. . . . Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.