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Justified - Madison's Decision To Change US Foreign Policy

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Is it wrong for a president to do what he thinks is best for his country? As a young nation – which just finished a costly war – could America afford to get involved with another conflict with nations more powerful than itself? Madison – like Adams and Jefferson – had to deal with Washington’s foreign policy. Unlike the other presidents, Madison felt like the foreign policy wasn’t right; so he changed it from isolationism to intervention. The previous foreign policy – known as isolationism – meant that America had to try to stay out of disputes between opposing countries. After Madison changed America’s policy, it became known as intervention: America’s duty was to stand up for itself. Madison did a lot of things before changing the foreign policy; he engaged in peace talks with other national leaders, he followed through with what he told the world, and when diplomacy failed, he and Congress declared war to protect our youthful nation. Madison was utterly justified in changing United States foreign policy from isolationism to intervention. Though Madison faced many predicaments, he also made many fine choices. As Madison tried solving his problems with negotiation, isolationism failed to ensure the safety of the nation. Madison tried to solve his problems by talking to the leaders of Britain and France. “If you agree to stop attacking…” Madison said, “…the United States will stop trading with your enemy”(Hart 168). This reveals how at first, intervention seemed so farfetched and out of the question and intervention was a first priority. In Madison’s mind, this seemed like such a reasonable request, but apparently, to Napoleon and the King of England, it was way too much to ask. Even though Napoleon promptly agreed to Madison’s... ... middle of paper ... ... our ships being seized isn’t much cheaper. “From 1807 to 1812, more than nine hundred American ships were seized by either Britain or France”(“The War of 1812: Trade Embargoes”). This means in just one year, 200 ships were being seized. In any case, this is a lot of money down the drain – especially considering the size of the United States at the time. Each ship contained paid workers, loved family members, expensive supplies, the cost of replacing the ship, and because of all these seizes, no more international commerce. If this doesn’t put American economy in a bad position, I don’t know what will. Citizens would be asking: if we don’t act in a noticeable way, how much more would we loose? Every ship we send out into the Atlantic Ocean is fair game. Either Britain or France will attack every ship out there and – without intervention – there is nothing we can do.
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