Dear Mr. Clay, The state of American foreign policy at this current time is demonstrating that we as a nation are becoming stronger. The fact that we have told Great Britain they cannot settle more colonies on American soil shows that we are beginning to see ourselves as equals to other national powers. We are also realizing that war is not always the answer. Treaties have shown themselves to be very affective as of late, not to mention that they do not take any lives in the process of being passes. Negotiations with Britain have improved, which benefits us both. It is starting to look like the less fighting we do, the more we get accomplished. The latest of non-violent agreements, the Monroe Doctrine did not cost any lives, while still getting out point across.
I believe that I as the nations secretary of state acted in the US's best interest.
The Rush-Bagot Agreement for example, was created so the British would not have enough power in the Great Lakes to attack any part of the United States. If they chose to attack anyway, we had the same ships in the same numbers to affectively defend ourselves. This treaty was not only important because it secured the Great Lakes, but also because it was the first treaties of many with the British. It was a good sign of things to come in the future. The Monroe Doctrine on the other hand was written with more of a morality backing. It basically kept Britain from creating any new colonies in the United States, as it is known that they only created colonies for the benefit of the mother country. Be preventing them from making new colonies, we prevented their government from using people and their resources for the benefit of Britain and not the benefit of the people themselves. If you recall, as I am sure you do, the United States started out as exploited British colonies that never got anything out of their hard work until they fought for their independence. The doctrine was good for the United States in that since it kept the British out of America, the threat of them trying to revolt and take over the country was greatly reduced. It kept them far away from out government headquarters, which was a safe move on our part.
I did more than just the Rush-Bagot Agreement and the Monroe Doctrine though Mr. Clay. During the convention of 1818 I played a big role in making the Oregon Territory a joint occupation between America and Great Britain. This was important because it kept us from going to war over land, which we have done in the past. This way many lives were spared on both sides. Also, it gave America the chance to set up establishments there in the future if people desired to do to. The land seemed like it could really benefit the country agriculturally if we took advantage of it. At that same convention, I helped the United States to get fishing rights on the coast of Newfoundland. This of course was beneficial because the fish could be traded or sold to help keep the economy going. I also played quite a large role in the creation of the Florida Purchase Treaty of 1819. This is the treaty that allowed United States to buy Florida from the Spanish and make it a state in the future. The reason I felt it was necessary to buy Florida was that not only did it make it harder for groups of Indians and blacks to unite for an attack on the states, but also it yet again allowed America to expand. The bigger the United States got, the more chances it had to become self-sufficient. You see Mr. Clay, as we bought more land for settling and developing, it allowed us, as a nation, to use interstate trade to get what we needed. Instead of buying things from other countries, the chances were increased that we could make what we needed right here in the United States. This also applies to the Oregon Territory.
Even after accomplishing all this, I still have some things in mind for the future. We are on pretty good terms with Britain right now, but things with France are still somewhat unstable, and other parts of Europe as well. I want to make it so relations are improved with all of Europe, not just Great Britain. Just because they threat of Britain attacking has become less serious, does not mean that other countries will not pick up where they left off. We are still looked down upon by countries such as England, Spain, and France due to our government structure and ways of life, so we can never be too safe. I want to get the United States on agreement with all of Europe that we will talk problems out before resorting to war. Also, I know border disputes will continue to be a problem as we expand, so that is another thing I want to take care of in the future. The problem with the Canadian border was able to be resolved with simple negotiations and I would like to keep it that way. If these can continue to be resolved peacefully then it will show how we have matured as a nation. There is no doubt in my mind that we will continue to expand to the west where problems will be encountered regarding who had claims to what land. If we can keep it all negotiation based though, I think we will prosper not only as a county, but as a world as well. In closing Mr. Clay, if you are headed in the direction I have set forth, than we as a nation will succeed. You need to realize that foreign policy is a delicate thing and therefore you should be cautious and wise in making big decisions.
Sincerely, John Quincy Adams