George Washington to Patrick Henry October 9, 1795:
“I can most religiously aver that I have no wish that is incompatible with the dignity, happiness, and true interest of the people of this country. My ardent desire is, and my aim has been (as far as depended upon the Executive Department) to comply strictly with all our engagements, foreign and domestic, but to keep the United States free from political connections with every other country, to see that they may be independent of all and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves and not for others; this, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home, and not, by becoming the partisans of Great Britain or France, create dissensions, disturb the public tranquillity, and destroy, perhaps forever, the cement which binds the Union.” [Quoted in Edmund S. Morgan, The Genius of George Washington (New York: W.W. Norton, 1980), p. 86.]
The full letter is available online at http://etext.virginia.edu/washington/fitzpatrick/ by searching on the text.
This philosophy is the opposite of Secretary of State (ugh!) Clinton’s, which is based on her perverse notion of “interdependence” (a topic for a future post).
Happy Washington’s Birthday.