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IPFS News Link • American History

Thomas Jefferson and the American Principle of Peaceful Coexistence

•, By: Mike Maharrey

Thomas Jefferson summed up this foundational foreign policy in his first inaugural address, calling for a policy of "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations…entangling alliances with none."

But this wasn't the only time Jefferson extolled the virtues of peaceful coexistence.

In 1794, as tensions between the U.S. and France rose,  Jefferson wrote a letter to Tench Coxe, lamenting, "We are alarmed here with the apprehensions of war: and sincerely anxious that it might be avoided; but not at the expence either of our faith or honor."

At the time, many believed America's honor "has been too much wounded not to require reparation, and to seek it even in war, if that be necessary." But Jefferson said he preferred peace and advocated for a policy to avoid war.