commerce with foreign nations" the machinery for doing away with navies, armies, and wars.
During eight years of opposition the Republican party had matured its doctrines on this subject. In 1797, in the midst of difficulties with France, Jefferson wrote:—
- "If we weather the present storm, I hope we shall avail ourselves of the calm of peace to place our foreign connections under a new and different arrangement. We must make the interest of every nation stand surety for their justice, and their own loss to follow injury to us, as effect follows its cause. As to everything except commerce, we ought to divorce ourselves from them all."
A few months before the inauguration, he wrote in terms more general:—
- "The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our general government may be reduced to a very simple organization and a very unexpensive one,—a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants."
Immediately after the inauguration the new President explained his future foreign policy to correspondents,
- Jefferson to Edward Rutledge, June 24, 1797; Works, iv. 189.
- Jefferson to Gideon Granger, Aug. 13, 1800; Works, iv. 330.