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Putting America First
Putting America First

Putting America First

John Quincy Adams’s Teachings for Our Time


350 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth

Cloth, $26.95 (US $26.95) (CA $35.95)

Publication Date: September 2021

ISBN 9781645720249

Rights: WOR

Republic Book Publishers (Sep 2021)

Not Yet Published. Estimated release date: September 2021


Describing the United States’ relations with other nations as “America First” would have made no sense to presidents between George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. They, committed to pursuing what Washington called “our interest guided by justice” and acting as the American people’s fiduciary representatives, would not have considered any other priority. But the Progressive movement that won over American elites a hundred years ago premised precisely that U.S policy must concern itself primarily with mankind as a whole, with America only derivatively, and with values that transcend the American people. Hence, Progressives use the term “America First” to accuse other Americans of neglect of duty, stupidity, etc. But “America First,” namely pursuing what benefits our American character and advances our legitimate interests, and regarding all foreign relations from that perspective—in short, fully minding our business while leaving other peoples to mind theirs—was the basis of the United States’ successful foreign policy circa 1815-1910. Best described by John Quincy Adams and carried out by his successors, this is the foreign policy by which America grew great in peace. It remains the American people’s common sense.This study contrasts this original “America First” foreign policy with the basis and results of the subsequent century’s Progressive policy. It shows the transformation of a culture of peace and victory into that of statesmen who eliminate the very concepts of victory and peace from the military’s official vocabulary as they manage endless wars.Then, the book examines how J.Q. Adams’s insights are applicable to the current domestic and international environment—what “America First” can mean in our time.

Author Biography

Angelo M. Codevilla is professor emeritus of international relations at what is now the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and a member of the working group on military history of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He served as a U.S. Navy officer, a Foreign Service Officer, professional staff member of the Select Committee on Intelligence of the United States Senate, as well as on President Reagan's transition teams for the State Department and Intelligence. He speaks or reads the major European languages. He runs a vineyard in Plymouth, CA, and writes. Codevilla's received the BA from Rutgers (1965) the MA from Notre Dame (1968), and the Ph.D from the Claremont graduate school (1973). In addition to Boston University, he has taught at North Dakota State, Georgetown University, and Princeton University. Among Codevilla's thirteen books are: Modern France (1974); War Ends and Means (with Paul Seabury, 1986, 2nd ed. 2005); Informing Statecraft (1992); Machiavelli's Prince, a linguistic analysis (1996); The Character of Nations (1997, 2nd ed. 2009); A Student's Guide To International Relations (2010), and To Make And Keep Peace (2014) . Since 1964 Codevilla's major articles have appeared, among other places, in The Claremont Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, Telos, and Modern Age. Short articles by Codevilla may be found in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, as well as in other print and electronic outlets.