"Entangling Alliances With None"
Context: Like each of the early Presidents of the United States, Thomas Jefferson firmly believed in a policy of isolationism. Having escaped from the constant harassments thrust upon the European nations as a result of geographical proximity, and with the vast Atlantic as a natural boundary of virtual impregnability, the American people simply refused to become embroiled in foreign quarrels. Hence, the statement of foreign policy was remarkably succinct. George Washington had stated in his final presidential address (1796): "'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world." So Thomas Jefferson advised in his first address as leader of the nation. In his description of the "essential principles of our government," he includes:
. . . Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations–entangling alliances with none, . . . the preservation of the general government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad.