Jefferson on the Utility of Soft Power | Harper's Magazine

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Jefferson on the Utility of Soft Power

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I wish that all nations may recover and retain their independence; that those which are overgrown may not advance beyond safe measures of power, that a salutary balance may be ever maintained among nations, and that our peace, commerce, and friendship, may be sought and cultivated by all. It is our business to manufacture for ourselves whatever we can, to keep our markets open for what we can spare or want; and the less we have to do with the amities or enmities of Europe, the better. Not in our day, but at no distant one, we may shake a rod over the heads of all, which may make the stoutest of them tremble. But I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power, the greater it will be.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Leiper, June 12, 1815, in: The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Memorial ed.), vol. 14, p. 308 (Jefferson anticipates the doctrine of soft power)

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