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ANTI-AIRCRAFT MACHINE GUN French gunners training a machine gun on a hostile aeroplane. These guns have been very successful in bringing German planes to earth and the French artillerymen are very expert in their use.
JEFFERSON'S VIEW OF THE DOCTRINE So much for the doctrine itself, in letter and in spirit. In the Rush-Canning and Rush-Adams correspondence, which preceded and led to it, there was not the remotest hint at “isolation,” but, rather, some very direct intimations of prospective alliance between America and Great Britain. Before issuing the doctrine Monroe sought the advice of Jefferson and Madison, and they both gave it, voluminously, but neither hinted at isolation. Instead, both directly and emphatically recommended and anticipated the contrary, and approved the proposed doctrine, because they regarded it as a step toward if not a practical achievement of a permanent alliance between America and Great Britain. It is true that Jefferson said that “our first and fundamental maxim should be never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe. America has a set of interests distinct from those of Europe, and particularly her own. She should therefore havé a system of her own, separate and apart from that of Europe.' But that does not mean isolation, any more than it means isolation for one family not to meddle in the wrangles of another family, but to have its own domestic system, separate from that of any other household. To refrain from being a meddler one need not be a hermit.
A VIGOROUS POLICY
But note, further, what Jefferson said in the very next paragraph: “One nation, most of all, could disturb us in this pursuit; she now offers to lead, aid, and accompany us in it. Great Britain is the nation which can do us the most harm of any or all on earth; and with her on our side we need not fear the whole world. With her, then, we should most sedulously cherish a cordial friend
ship; and nothing would tend more to knit our affections than to be fighting once more, side by side, in the same
If we can effect a division in the body of the European powers, and draw over to our side its most powerful member, surely we should do it.” In other words, we were to seek an Anglo-American alliance with which to oppose the Holy Alliance.
MADISON ON ALLIANCES That was Jefferson's policy. Madison's was the same. "It is particularly fortunate,” he said, “that the policy of Great Britain has presented a co-operation for an object the same with ours. With that co-operation we have nothing to fear from the rest of Europe. There ought not, therefore, to be any backwardness in meeting her in the way she has proposed Will it not be honorable to our country to invite the British Government to extend the 'avowed disapprobation' of the project against the Spanish colonies to the enterprise of France against Spain herself, and even to join in some declaratory act in behalf of the Greeks?"
Thus while Jefferson was advocating an alliance with Great Britain, Madison, the most scholarly and thoughtful of men, was suggesting that we should utilize that alliance not merely for the protection of the new republics in Spanish America, but also for intervention-Anglo-American intervention-between France and Spain, and between Turkey and Greece. For while he spoke primarily of mere words of "disapprobation" of France's aggressions upon Spain, and of a mere "declaratory act” in favor of Greece, he recognized the fact that such declarations might imply a pledge to follow them up with war; in which case, he said, "we ought to compare the good to be done with the little injury to be apprehended to the United States,
shielded as their interests would be by the power and the fleets of Great Britain united with their own."
In short, we were to join Great Britain in waging war against France for the protection of Spain, and in waging war against Turkey for the liberation of Greece! Yet people prate about our "traditional policy of isolation!"
NATIONAL ACTS AND PRACTICE
If from these most weighty and authoritative declarations, which however are nothing but declarations, we turn to concrete acts, not only performed by the President but also approved by Congress or by the Senate, what do we find? Note the case of Morocco. In 1880 we united with the European powers in a formal treaty for the protection of foreigners in that empire, and in 1906 we entered at Algeciras that monstrous embroilment of the powers which was one of the most direct preludes to the present European war, and we took almost a predominant part in defining and regulating the rival interests of European powers in that African country. Or what shall we say of the two treaties, or sets of treaties, at The Hague? The United States took a leading part in those conferences and in the making of those treaties, side by side with the European powers; and they were and are treaties relating not merely to our own concerns but to the general international interests of the whole world. Surely, it was not an empty form for this country to sign and ratify those treaties. And surely in our doing so there could not have been the slightest trace of “isolation.”
THE TRUE RULE OF CONDUCT It is not to be contended that we should embroil ourselves in purely European affairs, or that we should hastily
enter into alliances with any other powers in the world. But it cannot be too strongly insisted upon that the Declaration of Independence is not mere “buncombe" when it says that this country has “full power to contract alliances,” and that it was not a purposeless form for the Constitution to invest the President with the power “to make treaties" in the unlimited sense of the term. It may not be expedient for us to enter into alliances. A great authority of old reminded us that things which are lawful are sometimes not expedient. But nothing can be more certain than that there is and has been no "policy of isolation” which may now be abandoned, and that there is nothing in tradition or precedent or declaration or theory or practice to restrain us for one moment from making any alliances or doing any other lawful act which may be expedient and for the interest of our own security and welfare. The United States is not a dwarf nor a cripple, nor yet a hermit, among the nations of the world.