Search Results for: US Founding

Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus (ca. 370 BCE)

The Education of Cyrus is no simple paean to Cyrus, nor a handbook showing how to rule the world. Xenophon meditates on the conditions of uniting independent nations under unified political leadership, and the costs of so doing. The possession of empire can be as detrimental to the rulers as it is to the ruled. The Persians were once much like the Spartans, but they were changed by the rule of Cyrus. Xenophon thus shows that little is “natural” in the superior qualities of Greek soldiers when compared against the Persians. Keeping independent and separate political communities, with the attendant possibility of war and instability, seems very much wrapped up with the virtues necessary for successful warfare. The choice between empire and independence is one of the most fundamental political choices, and Xenophon deftly shows the Greeks and the later world the costs, limits, and possibilities of becoming an imperial power.

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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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The Sage of Singapore

Lee Kuan Yew is often referred to as “the Sage of Singapore.” The Cambridge University-educated Lee was the founding father of that modern independent city-state.  He served as its prime minister from 1959 to 1990, overseeing its rise as the first of the Southeast Asian “tigers.”  He was also one of the region’s most influential international statesmen, renowned for his geopolitical acumen as well as his far-sighted economic vision. When Harry Lee spoke, people listened.

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JQA, Chronicles of an American Diplomat: Dispatch 7

John Quincy undoubtedly realized that Jay’s treaty would receive a difficult reception from his countrymen. Before he had left America, he sensed the general expectation that the talks would be highly favorable to the United States. The final results were bound to be disappointing to friends of the administration and inflammatory to its opponents. John Quincy thought it imperative to provide his father with a first-hand assessment as soon as possible, even if he could not go into details for reasons of propriety and security. The vice president would not have a vote in the Senate when the agreement was submitted for that body’s consent, but John Adams’ views would surely be solicited.

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JQA, Chronicles of an American Diplomat: Dispatch 6

Jay and Pinckney admitted to John Quincy they thought the proposed treaty was “far from being satisfactory,” even with improvements they still had in mind to propose. All that said, they told John Quincy they believed it was still preferable to war. Jay asked John Quincy for his opinion. John Quincy said he “suggested such ideas as occurred to me upon the subject. My observations were made with the diffidence which naturally arose from my situation; and were treated with all the attention, that I could expect or desire.”

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JQA, Chronicles of an American Diplomat: Dispatch 5

The passage to England was fast but precarious “considering the flimsy, crazy conditions of the old ship, her uncommon dullness of sailing, and the mistakes of our Captain.” On September 24, there was an extremely violent squall in the night and the Alfred was nearly run down by another ship. John Quincy was convinced that another heavy gale would have sent the ship straight to the bottom. He vowed never to sail on such an “eggshell” again.

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JQA, Chronicles of an American Diplomat: Dispatch 4

John Quincy Adams made last minute preparations to sail, and said goodbye to family and friends. “I once more wish you a prosperous Voyage and honourable Conduct and a happy Life,” John Adams wrote to his sons. “Remember your Characters as Men of Business as well as Men of Virtue, and always depend on the Affection and Friendship of your Father.” Abigail, for her part, undoubtedly warned her sons, especially the easily smitten Thomas, to avoid the charms of Dutch girls. She made it clear that she did not want either of them to drag a European wife back to America.

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Document: Charters of Freedom

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,

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Book: The Soldier and the State

While the average political scientist is lucky to make a name for himself in one area of the field, Samuel Huntington has made major contributions to three: civil-military relations, democratic theory, and international relations. And while most people think of The Clash of Civilizations when they hear his name today, his most influential book—for

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JQA, Chronicles of an American Diplomat: Dispatch 3

John Quincy took a break from the necessary round of visits and dinners to write John Adams about his research into his father’s diplomatic dispatches during the Revolutionary War, particularly those of his time in France. John Quincy had been present as well but his impressions were those of a child; he could now consider them as an adult

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