Special wholesale Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the high quality World sale

Special wholesale Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the high quality World sale

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From one of our leading experts on foreign policy, a full-scale reinterpretation of America’s dealings—from its earliest days—with the rest of the world.

It is Walter Russell Mead’s thesis that the United States, by any standard, has had a more successful foreign policy than any of the other great powers that we have faced—and faced down. Beginning as an isolated string of settlements at the edge of the known world, this country—in two centuries—drove the French and the Spanish out of North America; forced Britain, then the world’s greatest empire, to respect American interests; dominated coalitions that defeated German and Japanese bids for world power; replaced the tottering British Empire with a more flexible and dynamic global system built on American power; triumphed in the Cold War; and exported its language, culture, currency, and political values throughout the world.

Yet despite, and often because of, this success, both Americans and foreigners over the decades have routinely considered American foreign policy to be amateurish and blundering, a political backwater and an intellectual wasteland.

Now, in this provocative study, Mead revisits our history to counter these appraisals. He attributes this unprecedented success (as well as recurring problems) to the interplay of four schools of thought, each with deep roots in domestic politics and each characterized by a central focus or concern, that have shaped our foreign policy debates since the American Revolution—the Hamiltonian: the protection of commerce; the Jef-
fersonian: the maintenance of our democratic system; the Jacksonian: populist values and military might; and the Wilsonian: moral principle. And he delineates the ways in which they have continually, and for the most part beneficially, informed the intellectual and political bases of our success as a world power. These four schools, says Mead, are as vital today as they were two hundred years ago, and they can and should guide the nation through the challenges ahead.

Special Providence is a brilliant analysis, certain to influence the way America thinks about its national past, its future, and the rest of the world.

From Publishers Weekly

America is perceived as not having a foreign policy tradition, contends Mead (Mortal Splendor: The American Empire in Transition), a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In fact, Mead contends, there are actually four contrasting schools of foreign policy: a "Hamiltonian" concern with U.S. economic well-being at home and abroad; a "Wilsonian" impulse to promulgate U.S. values throughout the world; a "Jeffersonian" focus on protecting American democracy in a perilous world; and a bellicose, populist "Jacksonian" commitment to preserving U.S. interests and honor in the world. As Mead''s detailed historical analysis of the origin and development of these schools shows, each has its strengths and faults if Wilsonians are too idealistic, Jacksonians are too suspicious of the world but each keeps the other in check, assuring no single school will dominate and that a basic consensus among them will be achieved, as was the case during the Cold War. As the Cold War ended, however, and the world became more complex, consensus ended. Hamiltonians and Wilsonians saw the opportunity to mold the economy and morality of the world in the U.S. image, but Jeffersonian doubt about foreign action in places like Bosnia, and Jacksonian popular suspicions of organizations like the WTO soon challenged such grandiose plans. Mead worries that U.S. foreign policy is too unfocused today and suggests we could learn much from the interactions in the past of the four schools, a complex history he ably unfolds. 8 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Nov. 8) Forecast: With foreign policy at the forefront after September 11, this could help shape discussions of U.S. response; expect serious interest.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A senior fellow for foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, Mead (Mortal Splendor: The American Empire in Transition) follows in the footsteps of Walter McDougall in Promised Land, Crusader State (Houghton, 1997). Like McDougall, he points out that the United States contrary to the received wisdom was awash in diplomacy from its birth throughout the supposedly isolationist 19th century. But Mead sets himself a broader task. Why, he asks, does the United States still suffer from a reputation for na?vet? despite its meteoric ascent to world power? The author traces European puzzlement at Americans'' stubborn independence, aversion to state power, and obsession with commerce. Like other historians, Mead discerns several schools of thought that vie for supremacy within the American diplomatic tradition: Hamilton''s preoccupation with commerce, Jefferson''s watchfulness over the Republic''s founding principles, Jackson''s obsession with military strength, and Wilson''s pursuit of a just world order. The beneficial interplay of these principles, says Mead, has yielded the most successful foreign policy in history. Largely celebratory and sure to be controversial, this work belongs in all library collections. James R. Holmes, Ph.D. Candidate, Fletcher Sch. of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts Univ., Medford, MA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Since September 11, foreign policy has been front-page news. Mead, a Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow, argues that foreign policy has consistently played a more important role in U.S. politics than most studies recognize and that "American thinking about foreign policy has been relatively stable." But this stability does not reflect simplicity: Mead sees U.S. foreign policy as determined by the interaction of four approaches he labels Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, Jeffersonian, and Jacksonian. Hamiltonians are globalists who urge a business-government alliance. Wilsonians accept global responsibility to build a peaceful, law-abiding community of democratic nations as a matter of moral duty as well as national interest. Jeffersonians are skeptical; they want to preserve democracy at home but aren''t anxious to spread it. Populist Jacksonians see foreign policy''s goal as protecting the American people economically and militarily. Mead traces these tendencies through history, demonstrating how they have been balanced through the political process and suggesting how they could be balanced in the future. Mary Carroll
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Mead is a clear and original thinker and an engaging writer, and these pages are filled with striking insights and pithy formulations. His analysis is richer, more interesting, more accurate than so many others."
--Aaron L. Friedberg, New York Times


"Mead is definitely on to something. He makes lots of good points and debunks a host of myths. And he provides a highly intelligent analysis of America''s foreign policy, which is full of common sense and learning and is clear and readable to boot."
-- The Economist

"Walter Russell Mead''s Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World is a stunning achievement. At a time of crisis, Mead''s book forces the reader to rethink the central ideas that have guided American foreign policy in the past and are likely to shape its future."
--James Chace

"Few people writing on U. S. foreign policy are as brilliant and original as Walter Russell Mead. In Special Providence he shatters old diplomatic theories and historical assumptions with a creative vengeance. The result is a brave, landmark study that cannot be ignored.
--Douglas Brinkley

"To understand U. S. foreign policy, it is necessary to understand the United States. Nobody understands either better than Walter Russell Mead. This book is destined to join the small list of classics that explain America to the world and to Americans themselves."
--Michael E. Lind

"In his ambitious and important new book, Walter Russell Mead offers a provocative and highly original way of looking at American foreign policy, one that moves far beyond the conventional wisdom of ''realists vs. idealists.'' His insights linking the grand sweep of American history to our present world situation are particularly valuable. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in America''s role in our increasingly complex world."
--Richard C. Holbrooke

"This ingenious and provocative account of American foreign policy''s past is a splendid introduction to its future."
--Michael Mandelbaum

" This important book-high-spirited, eloquent, and imaginative-could well change the way we think about America''s relations with the world."
--Ronald Steel

From the Inside Flap

our leading experts on foreign policy, a full-scale reinterpretation of America’s dealings―from its earliest days―with the rest of the world.<br><br>It is Walter Russell Mead’s thesis that the United States, by any standard, has had a more successful foreign policy than any of the other great powers that we have faced―and faced down. Beginning as an isolated string of settlements at the edge of the known world, this country―in two centuries―drove the French and the Spanish out of North America; forced Britain, then the world’s greatest empire, to respect American interests; dominated coalitions that defeated German and Japanese bids for world power; replaced the tottering British Empire with a more flexible and dynamic global system built on American power; triumphed in the Cold War; and exported its language, culture, currency, and political values throughout the world.<br><br>Yet despite, and often because of, this success, both Americans a

From the Back Cover

"Mead is a clear and original thinker and an engaging writer, and these pages are filled with striking insights and pithy formulations. His analysis is richer, more interesting, more accurate than so many others."
--Aaron L. Friedberg, New York Times


"Mead is definitely on to something. He makes lots of good points and debunks a host of myths. And he provides a highly intelligent analysis of America''s foreign policy, which is full of common sense and learning and is clear and readable to boot."
-- The Economist

"Walter Russell Mead''s Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World is a stunning achievement. At a time of crisis, Mead''s book forces the reader to rethink the central ideas that have guided American foreign policy in the past and are likely to shape its future."
--James Chace

"Few people writing on U. S. foreign policy are as brilliant and original as Walter Russell Mead. In Special Providence he shatters old diplomatic theories and historical assumptions with a creative vengeance. The result is a brave, landmark study that cannot be ignored.
--Douglas Brinkley

"To understand U. S. foreign policy, it is necessary to understand the United States. Nobody understands either better than Walter Russell Mead. This book is destined to join the small list of classics that explain America to the world and to Americans themselves."
--Michael E. Lind

"In his ambitious and important new book, Walter Russell Mead offers a provocative and highly original way of looking at American foreign policy, one that moves far beyond the conventional wisdom of ''realists vs. idealists.'' His insights linking the grand sweep of American history to our present world situation are particularly valuable. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in America''s role in our increasingly complex world."
--Richard C. Holbrooke

"This ingenious and provocative account of American foreign policy''s past is a splendid introduction to its future."
--Michael Mandelbaum

" This important book-high-spirited, eloquent, and imaginative-could well change the way we think about America''s relations with the world."
--Ronald Steel

About the Author

Walter Russell Mead is Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. A contributing editor at the Los Angeles Times and a senior contributing editor of Worth magazine, he has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and Foreign Affairs. He is the author of Mortal Splendor: The American Empire in Transition. He lives in Jackson Heights, New York.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

The American Foreign Policy Tradition

Lord Bryce, a British statesman who served as Britain''s ambassador to the United States from 1907 to 1913, once wrote that the role of foreign policy in American life could be described the way travelers described snakes in Ireland: "There are no snakes in Ireland."

That at the turn of the twentieth century the United States had no foreign policy worth noting was a view that, in retrospect, many Americans would come to share. How such a view arose is somewhat mysterious. Americans of 1900 thought they had an active, indeed a global, foreign policy. The Spanish-American War had only recently ended, and American forces were still in the midst of a bitter war against guerrilla freedom fighters in the Philippines. It was a time, in fact, when many Americans were struck by a sense that the United States was coming of age. "Th'' simple home-lovin'' maiden that our fathers knew has disappeared," said Mr. Dooley in 1902, "an'' in her place we find a Columbya, gintlemen, with machurer charms, a knowledge iv Euro-peen customs an'' not averse to a cigareet."

In 1895 one of America''s many successful but largely forgotten secretaries of state, Richard Olney, had forced the British to back down in a boundary dispute between British Guiana (now Guyana) and Venezuela. "Today the United States," stated Olney, "is practically sovereign on this continent, and its fiat is law upon the subjects to which it confines its interposition." Not content with forcing the British to acknowledge their secondary states in the Western Hemisphere, the United States was exerting increasing influence in Asia. It was Secretary of State John Hay who proclaimed the Open Door policy toward China, and, rather surprisingly, the other great powers accepted American opposition to further partition of a weak Chinese empire. Under Lord Bryce''s friend Theodore Roosevelt, the United States would humiliate Britain three times in the Western Hemisphere: First, the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty of 1900 saw Britain give up its long-standing insistence on equal rights in any Central American canal. When the Senate rejected this agreement as too generous to Britain, the unhappy Lord Pauncefote, Britain''s ambassador to the United States, had to concede even more Isthmian rights and put his name to a second and even more humiliating agreement with Hay. The third humiliation came when Britain, increasingly anxious not to offend the United States at a time when tensions were growing with Germany, agreed to settle a boundary dispute between Alaska and Canada on American terms.

The energetic Roosevelt''s foreign policy did not stop with these successes. He would send the famous "White Fleet" of the U.S. Navy on a round-the-world tour to demonstrate the nation''s new and modern battle fleet; arbitrate the Russo-Japanese War; send delegates to the 1906 Algeciras Conference in Spain, convened to settle differences among the European powers over Morocco; and generally demonstrate a level of diplomatic activity entirely incommensurate with the number of Hibernian snakes.

The closing years of the nineteenth century and the opening years of the twentieth saw American politics roiled by a series of foreign policy debates. Should Hawaii, Cuba, the Philippines, or Puerto Rico be annexed, and if so, on what terms? Should the United States continue to participate in its de facto currency union with Britain (the gold standard), or not? How high should tariffs on foreign goods be–should the United States confine itself to a "revenue tariff" set at levels to support the country''s budgetary needs, or should it continue or even increase the practice of protective tariffs?

Lord Bryce knew all this very well, but he had reasons for making the statement he did. Like many British diplomats of his day, he wanted the United States to remain part of the British international system, a world order that was in 1900 almost as elaborate as, and in some respects even more interdependent and integrated than, the American world order that exists today.

There was, he conceded, one diplomatic representative the United States did require, however. The Americans could fire the rest of their ambassadors and not notice any real difference, he said, but the United States did need to keep its ambassador at the Court of St. James.

This change would have been a great deal more beneficial to Great Britain than to the United States, but the good lord had a point. In 1900 Great Britain was at the center of a global empire and financial system, a system that in many respects included the United States. On the occassion of Queen Victoria''s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, often considered the high-water mark of British power and prestige, the New York Times was moved to acknowledge this fact. "We are part," said the Times in words that were no doubt very welcome to Lord Bryce, "and a great part, of the Greater Britain which seems so plainly destined to dominate the planet."

In a certain sense the Times was right. One hundred years ago the economic, military, and political destiny of the United States was wrapped up in its relationship with Great Britain. The Pax Britannica shaped the international environment in which the United States operated.

In the last analysis Lord Bryce''s comment was less an informed observation about American history and foreign policy than it was a hopeful statement about the durability of the British Empire. It was a prayer, not a fact. Bryce hoped that Britain could continue to manage the European balance of power on its own, with little more than the passive American participation it had enjoyed since the proclamation of the Monroe Doctrine. The British statesmen of his day hoped that if they offered the United States a "free hand" in the Western Hemisphere, and supported the Open Door policy in China, the United States would not contest Britain''s desire to shape the destinies of the rest of the world.

That Lord Bryce would have discounted and minimized the importance of foreign policy in the United States does not startle; that so many important American writers and thinkers would join him in a wholesale dismissal of the country''s foreign policy traditions is more surprising. Indeed, one of the most remarkable features about American foreign policy today is the ignorance of and contempt for the national foreign policy tradition on the part of so many thoughtful people here and abroad. Most countries are guided in large part by traditional foreign policies that change only slowly. The British have sought a balance of power in Europe since the fifteenth century and the rise of the Tudors. The French have been concerned with German land power and British or American economic and commercial power for almost as long. Under both the czars and the commissars, Russia sought to expand to the south and the west. Those concerns still shape the foreign policy of today''s weakened Russia as it struggles to retain control of the Caucasus, project influence into the Balkans, and prevent the absorption of the Baltic states and Ukraine into NATO.

Only in the United States can there be found a wholesale and casual dismissal of the continuities that have shaped our foreign policy in the past. "America''s journey through international politics," wrote Henry Kissinger, "has been a triumph of faith over experience. . . . Torn between nostalgia for a pristine past and yearning for a perfect future, American thought has oscillated between isolationism and commitment."

At the suggestion of columnist Joseph Alsop, the extremely intelligent George Shultz acquired a collection of books about American diplomacy when he became secretary of state, but nowhere in his 1,138-page record of more than six years'' service does he mention anything he learned from them. 6 The 672 fascinating pages of James A. Baker III''s memoirs of his distinguished service as secretary of state are, with the exception of a passing mention of Theodore Roosevelt''s 1903 intervention in Panama, similarly devoid of references to the activities of American diplomats or statesmen before World War II.

For Richard Nixon, American history seemed to begin and end with the Cold War. American history before 1945 remained a fuzzy blank to him; even in his final book he could call the United States "the only great power without a history of imperialistic claims on neighboring countries"–a characterization that would surprise such neigh- boring countries as Mexico, Canada, and Cuba (and such countries as France and Spain that lost significant territories to American ambition) as much as it would surprise such expansionist American presidents as Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, James Knox Polk, James Buchanan, Ulysses Simpson Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt.Other than warning about the dangers of isolationism and offering panegyrics on American virtues, Nixon was largely contemptuous of or silent about the traditional aims, methods, and views of American foreign policy, although he frequently and respectfully referred to the foreign policy traditions of other countries with which he had had to deal.

The tendency to reduce the American foreign policy tradition to a legacy of moralism and isolationism can also be found among the Democratic statesmen who have attempted to guide American foreign policy in the last twenty years. Some, like Jimmy Carter, have embraced the moralism while rejecting the isolationism; others share the Republican contempt for both. The copious and learned books of Zbigniew Brzezinski show few signs of close familiarity with the history of American foreign policy or with the achievements of his predecessors, much less a sense of the traditional strategies and goals that guided their work. Similarly, the memoirs of former secretary of defense Robert McNamara and former secretary of state Dean Rusk rarely touch on American foreign policy before 1941. When former secretary of state Warren Chris...

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A. Volzer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It is really good for what it is
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2020
Its got some issues in its framework and the theory Mead offers here operates more like guesstimation, but like most guesstimations it plays a critical role in orienting and organizing information that opens up avenues for deeper study. It is not a detailed argument built... See more
Its got some issues in its framework and the theory Mead offers here operates more like guesstimation, but like most guesstimations it plays a critical role in orienting and organizing information that opens up avenues for deeper study. It is not a detailed argument built up on facts, it is an overgeneralization that allows for complicating our history as a country, letting us sit with the disjunctive and diverse legacy of our leaders and their followers. History cannot be tied down into a neat box and explained with a clear theory, in my opinion, because human beings and their own life histories are not explained by singular ideas either. I would say the most important part of the theory is his Jacksonians and the Jacksonian creed, at least for my own purposes studying rural America.

Read this along with American Nations by Colin Woodard and How the South Won the Civil War by Heather Cox Richardson. I suspect David Hackett Fischer''s Albion''s Seed: Four British Folkways in America would be extremely valuable since Mead references it prominently. After reading this book, then watch Mel Gibson''s Braveheart. You will see it in a whole new light!
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Leonard J. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Thought Provoking Analysis
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2012
I first read Walter Russell Mead''s Special Providence soon after it was published in 2001, just months prior to 9/11. This was before I had started writing book reviews in 2003, but I remember being favorably impressed. Since then, I have read, and reviewed, several books... See more
I first read Walter Russell Mead''s Special Providence soon after it was published in 2001, just months prior to 9/11. This was before I had started writing book reviews in 2003, but I remember being favorably impressed. Since then, I have read, and reviewed, several books Professor Mead cites and wanted to see how my impression might change given this additional background. I''m still impressed, but perhaps in different ways.

In 2001, I was impressed with Professor Mead''s simple but elegant characterization of four schools of thought that influenced the history of American foreign policy. He names each school after a famous proponent of its policies,

1. Hamiltonian: Named for Alexander Hamilton, the goals of this school are to further American commercial interests with the world.

2. Wilsonian: Named for Woodrow Wilson, the goals of this school are the creation of international organizations and legal structures based on law and morality. This school is a strong supporter of such organizations as the League of Nations, United Nations, World Court, etc.

3. Jeffersonian: Named for Thomas Jefferson, this school sought to minimize foreign entanglements (Washington''s words, I believe) not only to avoid potential foreign conflicts but also to avoid domestic policy impacts such as maintaining a large and expensive standing military force and accompanying military-industrial complex. This school is based on Jefferson''s own libertarian approach to government in both domestic and foreign affairs.

4. Jacksonian: Named for Andrew Jackson, this school is defined less by its policies than by its membership, typically lower and middle class Americans, originally of predominantly Scots-Irish descent, but now expanded to include those from other ethnic groups who are willing to accept their principles of patriotism and code of honor. These are the people who typically from the backbone of our armed forces and, consequently, Jacksonians typically place great emphasis on maintaining a strong military. At the same time, as the group that provides the bulk of our soldiers, they oppose wars they perceive as unnecessary, unwinnable, or not vital to the American interest (which they define as their own interest). Once engaged, however, they will insist that the war be fought to a clear victory with all necessary resources. Limited wars, limited objectives, and limited resources are anathema. Jacksonians use different rules and standards for dealing with fellow Americans, especially fellow Jacksonians, than with the outside world.

Contrasting the four schools, Wilsonians and Hamiltonians strive for world order based on morality and commerce, respectively. Jacksonian and Jeffersonians are suspicious or hostile to these global goals, Jeffersonians in a libertarian sense, Jacksonians in a nationalistic sense.

Mead is careful to point out that this naming convention is convenient shorthand; the schools existed both before and after their namesakes. He also points out that the four schools have overlapped, formed shifting alliances among themselves, and changed their focus over time. For example, the Hamiltonian School shifted from favoring protectionist tariffs to supporting free trade sometime in the mid 20th Century.

Mead also spends a fair amount of time contrasting American foreign policy with Continental realism, aka the Westphalian System, under which European states agreed to deal directly on a government-to-government basis and avoid interfering in each other''s internal affairs. In this section, he points out that:

1. Economic issues play a more significant role in American and British foreign policy than in Continental Realism which focuses almost entirely on political and military relationships.

2. Domestic politics differ from international politics. In domestic politics, at least in democracies, a social contract is assumed. The state is assumed to have the best interests of the citizens in mind. In international politics, there is no social contract. National self interest is paramount under the Westphalian system, amorality trumps both morality and immorality.

3. Continental Realism''s influence in the US peaked in the Nixon-Kissinger era. The economic and moral elements were not regained until the Carter and Reagan years. Nixon''s termination of the Breton Woods international monetary regime was the ultimate withdrawal of the US from the economic aspects of foreign policy. More than anything, the US withdrawal from Breton Woods unified the European governments in their pursuit of an independent monetary authority. The Nixon years also saw the termination of the moral element of foreign policy. Any anti-communist government deserved our support. This amoral approach was reversed by Carter''s emphasis on human rights and given a major boost by Reagan''s denunciation of the Evil Empire and call to Gorbachev to "tear down this wall". Together, the reentry of the economic and moral aspects of foreign policy led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Mead also describes the history of US foreign policy as one determined primarily by our evolving relationship with Great Britain. He describes four phases of this relationship and of US policy:

1. 1776-1823: The US won its independence from Britain and the two nations then worked and fought to define their economic and commercial relationship.

2. 1823-1914: The US existed in a British-dominated world order, but one within which both nations recognized areas where American concerns needed to be considered, i.e., the Monroe Doctrine to which Britain tacitly subscribed to prevent other European powers from establishing control over newly independent nations in the western hemisphere.

3. 1914-1947: The two world wars and the loss of its empire destroyed the British-dominated world order while the US struggled to decide how to fill the resulting void: Prop up Britain, replace Britain, or let the rest of the world tend to its own problems.

4. 1947-1991: By 1947, it was apparent what Britain would not be able to maintain its dominance of the world order in the face of the threat posed by the Soviet Union. The US stepped into the void. The Cold War era ended with the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991.

So, what did I get out or rereading Special Providence ten years after its publication?

My first reaction was that the four schools really represent different dimensions of power in world affairs. In his 1998 book, We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History, John Lewis Gaddis cites five dimension of power: military, economic, cultural, moral, and ideological. Using these dimensions, the Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, Jeffersonian, and Jacksonian schools emphasized economic, moral, ideological, and military power, respectively. Would using these impersonal terms instead of naming the schools for famous individuals would have avoided some confusion? For example, Jefferson and his supporters strongly supported the initial phases of the French revolution (prior to the terror). However, support of democratic movements abroad is more a Wilsonian policy than one associated with the Jeffersonian-libertarian school as defined by Mead. On the other hand, Mead''s naming convention did make me think through this question, which makes it a plus in my mind.

Professor Mead alludes to a parallel between his four schools of thought and David Hackett Fischer''s four British Folkways of settlers in America which he cites in his book Albion''s Seed:

1. The Puritans from East Anglia who settled in New England

2. The Royalists from the south and west of England, defeated by Cromwell''s Puritans in the English Civil War, 1642-51, who settled in Virginia and Maryland

3. The Quakers and their religious kin who settled in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware

4. The Scots-Irish who settled in the Appalachians west of the earlier colonies.

I''ve tried to map these four groups to Mead''s four schools. The only clear correspondence is between Fischer''s Scots-Irish and Mead''s Jacksonians which is obvious since the Jacksonians are defined as Scots-Irish in origin. The Wilsonians and Hamiltonians both seem to incorporate some elements of both the New England Puritans and the Quakers of the middle colonies. The Jeffersonians seem to have no obvious intellectual connection to any of Fischer''s four Folkways; although Jefferson was a Virginian, his philosophy was not at all similar to the defeated Stuart Royalists who settled that colony. Perhaps I have missed something in this comparison; if anyone wants to leave a comment on my review, I''d welcome it.

It also occurs to me that the four schools do not carry equal weight in determining US policy. Currently, I''d subjectively assign weights of perhaps 20%, 20%, 15%, and 45% respectively to the Hamiltonian, Wilsonian, Jeffersonian and Jacksonian schools. However, these weights undoubtedly have changed many times from 1776 to today. It would be interesting to see a well argued description of these evolving weights, but I guess that is really a separate research project. Perhaps Professor Mead will consider it for a future book.
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Joseph Ryan
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mead on Special Providence
Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2005
This is a clever book by an author who must be brilliant and who clearly is plugged into a great network of information and expertise. The book''s identification of four flavors of U.S. foreign policy is handy and seems more accurate than its traditional two-way rivals:... See more
This is a clever book by an author who must be brilliant and who clearly is plugged into a great network of information and expertise. The book''s identification of four flavors of U.S. foreign policy is handy and seems more accurate than its traditional two-way rivals: liberal vs. conservative, or idealistic vs. realistic.

As a "macro" theory, Mead supports the four-way approach by reference to "micro" foundations in U.S. political demography, particularly by citing the work of David Hackett Fischer. Mead''s four schools are also reminiscent of the four-way Myers-Briggs typing of personality preferences: Jacksonians as SJs, Jeffersonians as SPs, Hamiltonians as NTs, and Wilsonians as NFs?

Mead''s book is clever in at least two other respects.

First, Mead risks little actual analysis and advice regarding real-world foreign policy. His main point about the outside world is that U.S. foreign policy is easier to formulate and implement when the world is simple. Humorist Richard Armour made a similar point when he concluded one of his historical reviews with the observation that the American people of the 1950s were "secure in the knowledge of whom to hate." This continues to be an important point: it illustrates the current usefulness of the Arab Muslim image in building a broad U.S. political movement.

Second, Mead has something for everyone -- at least, for every American. With malice toward none, with charity for all, he has praise for all four of the U.S. schools. He has obviously struggled with his presentation of the Jacksonian school (the militant fundamentalists), which is the one that seems farthest from Mead''s roots as an intellectual. Mead credits Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. with helping him be positive about Andrew Jackson himself.

But although Mead disclaims triumphalism, he implicitly evaluates foreign policy in nationalistic terms: gains of territory and other wealth for the U.S., with low U.S. casualties, is the measure of U.S. foreign policy achievement. While he regrets non-U.S. casualties, he warns against trying to make too much of the rest of the world.

By these standards, Mead proclaims U.S. foreign policy a success and thus well conceived, even in the period before the First World War, when traditionally the U.S. was not supposed to be paying much attention to foreign affairs.

This seeming paradox is partly explained by a factor that Mead does not emphasize sufficiently: the private sector''s role in expanding U.S. territory. Private American colonization went ahead of the U.S. Government into a large part of what became U.S. lands: the trans-Appalachian area, West Florida, Texas, California, Utah, and Hawaii, among the successful cases.

Mead does note briefly that "before the Civil War Southerners looked to Texas, Central America, and Cuba for more slave states," but he does not tell in any detail the story of private U.S. adventurers'' attempted conquests in such areas, or of the U.S. Government''s official actions for and against these efforts. The case of the Philippines provides a contrasting example, where the U.S. Government took the initiative in conquering the territory without private American colonization. However, the non-governmental pattern resumed in the 1900s with private Americans'' participation in Israeli colonization, creating a Texas-type, lone-star republic, which, although not annexed, has a "special relationship" with the U.S.

These examples illustrate a mechanism by which the U.S. expanded its territory with low U.S. Government troop casualties, and thus had a successful foreign policy by Mead''s standard, without the U.S. Government paying as much attention to foreign policy as that success might imply.

Obviously, territorial expansion has generated blowback, which the U.S. Government has often anticipated and tried to avoid or limit. Mead also recognizes the need to deal with this downside of expansionary foreign policy. He describes very effectively how the Hamiltonian and Wilsonian schools offer alternatives for succeeding in the larger world.

We in the U.S. have family, friends, homes, businesses, and cultural interests outside our borders, which we will not want to neglect. Mead''s clarifying work is a substantial contribution to helping us think about our approach.
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Dad to 2 wee nippers
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great read for anyone interested in the US and the world (which should be everyone!)
Reviewed in the United States on June 12, 2013
Really made me rethink my perspective on US foreign policy. I had fallen for the myth that (in brief) the US was either isolationist or trying to take on the world. The reality is that in periods of apparent isolationism, the US actually had a remarkably successful... See more
Really made me rethink my perspective on US foreign policy. I had fallen for the myth that (in brief) the US was either isolationist or trying to take on the world. The reality is that in periods of apparent isolationism, the US actually had a remarkably successful foreign policy, based in many ways on trade.

Mead comes up with four schools of US foreign policy thought, named after key characters in US history: Hamiltonian (realist/mercantile), Wilsonian (idealist), Jeffersonian (libertarian), and Jacksonian (populist). These four trends work with and against each other to create policies that have helped lift the US to the top of the international tree, despite looking like the US can''t really cope with foreign policy making.

Well written and engaging, it''s one of the few books I''ve had to read for a class that I think I''d''ve read anyway.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
U. S. Foreign Policy Schools of Thought
Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2015
As a former student of American Diplomatic History, I found Mead''s book quite interesting, especially his effective classification of the four groups. Even though these are artificial constructs, they do make it easier to understand the thinking of those who, periodically... See more
As a former student of American Diplomatic History, I found Mead''s book quite interesting, especially his effective classification of the four groups. Even though these are artificial constructs, they do make it easier to understand the thinking of those who, periodically bring pressure to bear on foreign policy decision-makers. The book is a little out-dated but provides some good points of reference. I am still trying to determine how Hamiltonian, Wilsonian and Jeffersonian I am. I am a mixture of all but am not, for sure, a Jacksonian.
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Rico
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Just arrived
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2021
Book arrived in excellent condition (I''ve found new books in bookstores in similar condition) and on first estimated date Thanks!
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Jeremy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Thoroughly non-partisan; much predictive power
Reviewed in the United States on February 4, 2005
The four "schools" Mead presents have compelling narratives that resonate in all of us yet are somewhat in conflict with each other: are we free traders? do we agitate for a better world? should we keep ourselves to ourselves? if we fight do we utterly destroy our... See more
The four "schools" Mead presents have compelling narratives that resonate in all of us yet are somewhat in conflict with each other: are we free traders? do we agitate for a better world? should we keep ourselves to ourselves? if we fight do we utterly destroy our enemies?

Mead has helped me understand the "other side", and be much more sympathetic to these points of view. Whenever I ponder US foreign policy questions, I now begin by asking myself how Mead''s schools align on the question. Further, I find Mead''s schools are quite relevant and interesting when applied to domestic issues.
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Hundreds of years explained
Reviewed in the United States on January 19, 2016
Mead breaks down hundreds of years of American political evolution into four nicely defined schools of thought and goes on to explain each in great detail. Definitively a must read for those interested in American foreign policy and political history.
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"ぴろこ"
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
古典外交から現在まで
Reviewed in Japan on February 10, 2003
建国初期から現在まで2世紀にわたるアメリカ外交を振り返る。アメリカ外交の伝統を築いたジェファソニアン、ハミルトニアン、ジャクソニアン、ウィルソニアン学派と現代の超大国アメリカを外交政策の専門家である著者が分析している。
建国初期から現在まで2世紀にわたるアメリカ外交を振り返る。アメリカ外交の伝統を築いたジェファソニアン、ハミルトニアン、ジャクソニアン、ウィルソニアン学派と現代の超大国アメリカを外交政策の専門家である著者が分析している。
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