Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World

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Routledge, May 13, 2013 - Political Science - 400 pages
"God has a special providence for fools, drunks and the United States of America."--Otto von Bismarck

America's response to the September 11 attacks spotlighted many of the country's longstanding goals on the world stage: to protect liberty at home, to secure America's economic interests, to spread democracy in totalitarian regimes and to vanquish the enemy utterly.

One of America's leading foreign policy thinkers, Walter Russell Mead, argues that these diverse, conflicting impulses have in fact been the key to the U.S.'s success in the world. In a sweeping new synthesis, Mead uncovers four distinct historical patterns in foreign policy, each exemplified by a towering figure from our past.

Wilsonians are moral missionaries, making the world safe for democracy by creating international watchdogs like the U.N. Hamiltonians likewise support international engagement, but their goal is to open foreign markets and expand the economy. Populist Jacksonians support a strong military, one that should be used rarely, but then with overwhelming force to bring the enemy to its knees. Jeffersonians, concerned primarily with liberty at home, are suspicious of both big military and large-scale international projects.

A striking new vision of America's place in the world, Special Providence transcends stale debates about realists vs. idealists and hawks vs. doves to provide a revolutionary, nuanced, historically-grounded view of American foreign policy.


The American Foreign Policy Tradition
The Kaleidoscope of American Foreign Policy
Changing the Paradigms
The Serpent and the Dove The Hamiltonian Way
The Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur Wilsonianism and Its Mission
Vindicator Only of Her Own The Jeffersonian Tradition
Tiger Tiger Burning Bright The School of Andrew Jackson
The Rise and Retreat of the New World Order
The Future of American Foreign Policy

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About the author (2013)

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, he has also written for the 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.

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