The Correspondence of Thomas Jefferson

By Subject


On the question you propose, whether we can, in any form, take a bolder attitude than formerly in favor of liberty, I can give you but commonplace ideas. They will be but the widow's mite, and offered only because requested. The matter which now embroils Europe, the presumption of dictating to an independent nation the form of its government, is so arrogant, so atrocious, that indignation, as well as moral sentiment, enlists all our partialities and prayers in favor of one, and our equal execrations against the other. I do not know, indeed, whether all nations do not owe to one another a bold and open declaration of their sympathies with the one party, and their detestation of the conduct of the other. But farther than this we are not bound to go; and, indeed, for the sake of the world, we ought not to increase the jealousies, or draw on ourselves the power of this formidable confederacy [Holy Alliance]. I have ever deemed it fundamental for the United States, never to take active part in the quarrels of Europe.

to James Monroe, 11 June 1823