Foreign Policy 1776-1807 Dbq

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During the Washington, Adams, and the Jefferson administrations, the United States was thrust into the decision of joining either Britain or France, the two most powerful European nations. In determining the effects of foreign policy on the developing nation, one must establish the overall direction of the United States took. As a budding nation, George Washington proposed the idea of neutrality in order for the country to have no involvement in European affairs. However, Federalists and Democratic Republicans were outraged by this decision since the Federalists supported the British while the Democratic Republicans supported the French. Neutrality also allowed the United States to temporarily smooth its relations with Europe because of commercial interest. Therefore, neutrality, instead of siding with either Britain or France or through their commercial interests, was the obvious direction taken by foreign policy.

After witnessing and being involved in uncontrollable European affairs, the growing nation of the United States concluded that an international policy of neutrality would be the best option in the area of foreign affairs. During his presidency, Washington decided that it was best for America to stay neutral. As stated in his Proclamation of Neutrality that any American providing assistance to any country at war would be punished with legal proceedings (D). He was aware of the possible dangers that would occur when allying with a certain country. The country was too new to enter any wars or deal with wars of foreign countries. “Europe has a set of primary interests…Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns” (J). Even in his farewell address, Washington advised the fledgling nation to not get involved in European affairs or make permanent alliances, to avoid sectionalism, and to not form political parties. After Washington resigned from office, John Adams tried to maintain the...
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