Two Federalists, Both South Carolina Statesmen, Endorse Ron Paul’s Stance On Defense And Foreign Aid

In response to Minister Talleyrand’s request (rather, an attempted extortion later known as the XYZ Affair) for monetary aid (to the tune of $10,250,000) in exchange for neutrality on behalf of France towards the United States during the 1797 hostilities between France and Britain, Diplomat and Founding Father Charles Cotesworth Pinckney said

“No, no, not a sixpence!”

When the diplomatic commission (which included future Chief Justice John Marshall and future Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry) returned from France in 1798, a dinner reception was held for commission member Marshall. At the dinner the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, South Carolina Congressman Robert Goodloe Harper said, 

“Millions for defense but not one penny for tribute!”

These latter words might readily be twisted by some to mean

“Countless billions for any military expenditure we damn well please but not one friendly nod, not one apology, not one hand outstretched in peace, toward nations that refuse to bow to our exceptionalism or  bend to our hegemony”,

but any faithful recognition of the context should yield no other meaning than the plainest:

“Millions for defense [as against attacks initiated by other nations] but not one penny [worth about a quarter in today’s economy, granted] for tribute [which is an admission of dependence and a curtailment  of sovereignty on the part of either or both nations].”

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