The Pacificus-Helvidius Debate

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Episode notes

This is the first of three podcasts that explores the evolution of America from a small and relatively weak post-colonial republic to a nation debating the virtues of gaining and maintaining an empire. In this episode, we focus on the contentious politics of the 1790s as Alexander Hamilton and James Madison debate whether American foreign policy should be based on our national interests or our political ideals.

Teaching American History’s Documents in Detail series focuses on a single document from one of our Core Document Collection volumes. TAH’s CDC volumes are available for purchase or free download at

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james madisonalexander hamiltonthomas jeffersonforeign policy