Search Results for: Charles Hill

JQA, Chronicles of an American Diplomat: Dispatch 8

The process of receiving diplomatic recognition in Europe, even in the best of circumstances, was often complex and convoluted. Each country had its own traditions and procedures. It was easy for an envoy, especially a novice, to commit some indiscretion that would offend or at least delay the proceedings. John Quincy was determined to tread carefully.

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John Quincy Adams, What a Young Diplomat Should Read

In December 1816, John Quincy Adams, the U.S. Minister to Great Britain, responded to a request from Christopher Hughes, a young American, about how to prepare (specifically, to study) for a career in diplomacy.  (Hughes had been one of the secretaries to the American Peace Commission in Ghent in 1814, where he had developed a good relationship

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Christopher Harmon, Classics of Counterinsurgency

When faced with an insurgency, how do we learn about it? Soldiers and officers need practical advice, and often show close interest in past practices which clearly succeeded or clearly failed. On the other hand, historians and cultural specialists have a bent for insisting on the uniqueness of a thing. Questions and challenges come with any recommendation

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Professor Harold Rood’s Reading List

Professor Harold W. (Bill) Rood (1922-2011) taught courses in International Relations, Diplomacy and Military Power, American Foreign Policy, Constitutional development in the West, and Politics and Technology, at Claremont McKenna (Men’s) College and Claremont Graduate School (now University), and in the Defense and Strategic Studies programs at

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Ulysses S. Grant’s Civil War Memoir and Strategy

It might be said that Ulysses S. Grant’s memoir killed him. The Civil War General and former President of the United States had no intention of writing a memoir. In a life so full of personal and professional crises, one final personal crisis compelled Grant to break his silence. A twenty nine-year-old charlatan, Ferdinand Ward, had defrauded Grant

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JQA, Chronicles of an American Diplomat: Dispatch 1

John Quincy Adams was America’s most accomplished diplomat and effective Secretary of State. We know much of him and his times from his voluminous writings, which collectively constitute an American Classic. We offer here a day-to-day chronicle of the opening of his public career from 1794-1801, which will be posted sequentially in segments. This represents the first segment, or "dispatch."

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Chronicles of an American Diplomat: John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams was born into politics and war. As a small child in Boston, John Quincy lived in a town under British occupation. From the heights near the family farm in Braintree, he and his mother Abigail witnessed the distant fire and smoke of the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. John Adams, while serving in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, sent home to the family detailed reports of the move towards independence; and of the military resistance and diplomatic steps needed to sustain the revolution. He encouraged John Quincy and his other children to contemplate these profound events and to prepare themselves, as future statesmen, to meet the challenges to the new country.

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C.E. Callwell, Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice (1896)

The roots of modern counterinsurgency strategy are deep. As far back as Roman times historians like Tacitus recorded accounts of regular forces battling local guerrillas, and from these origins a long tradition of studying these peculiar types of conflicts was born. One of the most historically significant efforts to encapsulate lessons from irregular wars, or “small wars,” comes from the pen of British officer C. E. Callwell. Caldwell’s exploration of this type of warfare that yielded what remains one of the most insightful treatments of insurgency and counterinsurgency. While his work is a far cry from modern population-centric visions of counterinsurgency, it represents an important starting point in the development of modern counterinsurgency strategy and tactics.

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Paul Rahe on Spartan Grand Strategy

The grand strategy the Spartans embraced had serious consequences for Lacedaemon’s posture in the international sphere as well. Their perch was precarious.  The Lacedaemonians understood from early on what history would eventually confirm: that it took but a single major defeat in warfare on land to endanger the city’s very survival. Even when their population was at its height, as it was in the late archaic period, there were never more than ten thousand Spartiates, if that; and the territory they ruled was comparatively vast. The underlings they exploited were numerous and apt to be rebellious. In Messenia, if not also in Laconia, the helots saw themselves as a people in bondage, and geography did not favor the haughty men who kept them in that condition.

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