The basic premise of the address was a condemnation of political parties. Washington warned that the development of parties would destroy the government, and worried that special interest groups and foreign nations would easily dominate the factions. On this note, he implored future generations to avoid embroilment in the affairs of other nations, and concentrate on the development of "efficient government" at home, free from foreign influence.
The United States remained politically isolated all through the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, an unusual feat in western history. Historians have attributed the fact to a geographical position at once separate and far removed from Europe.
During the 1800's, the United States spanned North America and commenced to piece together an empire in the Caribbean and the Pacific — without departing from the traditional perspective. It fought the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Spanish-American War without joining alliances or fighting in Europe.
The isolationist point of view was still viable in 1823 when President James Monroe gave voice to what would later be termed the Monroe Doctrine, "In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken part, nor does it comport with our policy, so to do."