“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations- entangling alliances with none.” Sounds like a prescription for everyday life, not just nations! Please don’t confuse this 25th Principle with an attitude of “Can’t we all just get along?” It’s not saying that at all. Instead, the 25th Principle shines a light on U.S. policy that deserves our consideration.
Cleon Skousen nears the end of his book, “The 5000 Year Leap,” with this Principle of liberty. (Skousen, W. Cleon. The Five Thousand Year Leap: 28 Ideas That Changed the World. National Center for Constitutional Studies, 1981).
Thomas Jefferson touched on this idea in his first inaugural address. George Washington did the same in his farewell address. John Adams and James Madison were on this same train of thought. History leaves it to you and me to decide if their vision for our country is the best one. It was the official policy of the U.S. Government for 125 years. It was called “Separatism.”
Cleon Skousen quickly educates us on the definition of “Separatism” and distinguishes it from “Isolationism.” He tells us,” The latter term [isolation] implies a complete seclusion from other nations…” (Ibid, p.267). We learn that “the policy of the Founders [separatism] was just the opposite. They desired to cultivate a wholesome relationship with ALL nations, but they wished to remain aloof from sectional quarrels and international disputes. They wanted to avoid alliances of friendship with one nation which would make them enemies of another nation in a time of crisis. They wanted to keep American markets open to all countries unless certain countries engaged in hostilities toward the United States.” (Ibid, p. 268).
The idea of separatism was for the United States to remain friendly to all nations unless attacked, and lead by example. However, as the United States grew in power and financial resources, there was a particular “push” to be more involved in world affairs. Skousen tells us that separatism was replaced by internationalism. There were 2 world wars. The U.S. became engaged in each one as tensions escalated. Other wars eventually followed with U.S. involvement.
Skousen closes this chapter by saying, “Looking back, one cannot help wondering how much happier, more peaceful, and more prosperous the world would be if the United States had been following a policy of “separatism” as the world’s great peacemaker instead of “internationalism” as the world’s great policeman.” (Ibid., page 278)
Hindsight is, after all, 20/20 vision. But it is also true that ‘those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.’
Learning these principles and applying them to how we vote and view our world is Common Sense Civics and Citizenship. ??