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A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents
Volume 7, part 1: Ulysses S. Grant

written by "Richardson, James D. (James Daniel), 1843-1914" among the family of nations. There was but little of precedent to guide us, except our own case. Something, indeed, could be inferred from the historical origin of the Netherlands and Switzerland. But our own case, carefully and conscientiously considered, was sufficient to guide us to right conclusions. We maintained our position of international friendship and of treaty obligations toward Spain, but we did not consider that we were bound to wait for its recognition of the new Republics before admitting them into treaty relations with us as sovereign states. We held that it was for us to judge whether or not they had attained to the condition of actual independence, and the consequent right of recognition by us. We considered this question of fact deliberately and coolly. We sent commissioners to Spanish America to ascertain and report for our information concerning their actual circumstances, and in the fullness of time we acknowledged their independence; we exchanged diplomatic ministers, and made treaties of amity with them, the earliest of which, negotiated by Mr. John Quincy Adams, served as the model for the subsequent treaties with the Spanish American Republics. We also, simultaneously therewith, exerted our good offices with Spain to induce her to submit to the inevitable result and herself to accept and acknowledge the independence of her late colonies. We endeavored to induce Russia to join us in these representations. In all this our action was positive, in the direction of promoting the complete political separation of America from Europe. A vast field was thus opened to the statesmen of the United States for the peaceful introduction, the spread, and the permanent establishment of the American ideas of republican government, of modification of the laws of war, of liberalization of commerce, of religious freedom an...

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