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" It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world. "

Farewell Address to the People of the United States | Monday, September 19, 1796

Editorial Notes

Washington's admonition to Americans to avoid foreign entanglements stemmed from his own personal experience. He knew first hand how costly wars could be and wanted the young nation to maintain a goal of neutrality with all foreign governments as much as possible.  Washington continued his commentary by noting: "so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronising infidelity to existing engagements" - Washington still intended for the United States to honor all existing international treaties.

Farewell Address | Monday, September 19, 1796