[…]John Quincy Adams served a sole term as commander in chief from 1825 to 1829, but he brought to the land’s highest office a breadth of diplomatic experience no other presidential candidate has come close to amassing. Through the Republic’s early decades, he served as U.S. minister—the era’s equivalent of ambassador—to the Netherlands, Russia, Prussia, and the U.K., and then as President Monroe’s secretary of State from 1817 to 1825, helping articulate the doctrine opposing European colonialism in the Western hemisphere that would bear his name. That circuitous career was interspersed with stints as a senator and House member for Massachusetts, all whilst immortalizing his realist worldview in countless diaries and letters addressed to fellow statesmen and politicians.
Codevilla sums up Adams’ worldview as “fully minding our own business while leaving other people to mind theirs,” or “to seek peace by practicing peace while being ready to make war to keep powerful foreigners away.” It also goes by a catchy slogan in his book, America First, “the most concise description possible,” Codevilla writes, “of the studied complex of objectives, reasoning, and actions by which America’s founders related to other nations.” That complex guided later statesmen throughout the 19th century, from Hamilton and Clay’s vision of economic development to Lincoln’s call for “a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations” in his second Inaugural. Läs artikel