Isolationism

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  • The refusal of a country to intervene in the affairs of other nations, by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, and wars, in order to remain in a state of neutrality. The first articulation of an isolationist posture in the United States is found in George Washington's Farewell Address in 1796. In it, he states, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; … in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.” Thomas Jefferson further articulated isolationism in his first inaugural address in 1801: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” The Monroe Doctrine in 1823 later emphasized nonintervention in European politics.

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