By John Lamberton Harper
Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) was once an illegitimate West Indian emigrant who grew to become the 1st U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. American Machiavelli specializes in Hamilton's debatable actions as international coverage adviser and aspiring army chief. within the first significant examine of his international coverage function in 30 years, John Lamberton Harper describes a decade of sour department over the function of the government within the economic climate throughout the 1790s and attracts parallels among Hamilton and the 16th century Italian political adviser, Niccolò Machiavelli. Harper offers an unique and hugely readable account of Hamiltonas recognized clashes with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, and his key function in defining the U.S. nationwide protection approach. John Lamberton Harper is Professor of international coverage and ecu reviews on the Johns Hopkins collage Bologna heart. he's the writer of the United States and the Reconstruction of Italy, 1945-1948 (Cambridge 1986), winner of the 1987 Marraro Prize from the Society for Italian historic stories, and American Visions of Europe: Franklin D. Roosevelt, George F. Kennan, and Dean G. Asheson (Cambridge 1994), winner of the 1995 Robert Ferrell Prize from the Society of Historians of yankee overseas family. His articles and experiences have seemed in different guides, together with the yankee old evaluation, The magazine of yank background, the days Literary complement and overseas Affairs.
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Extra info for American Machiavelli: Alexander Hamilton and the Origins of U.S. Foreign Policy
The American states were themselves a set of ambitious commercial republics who would inevitably quarrel over trade and control of the west. ” Contending coalitions would ally with competing European powers and “be gradually entangled in all the pernicious labyrinths of European politics and wars . . ” Just as internecine conﬂict within the ancient Greek confederations had prompted Macedonian and Roman interventions, the American states “would be likely to become prey to the artiﬁces and machinations of powers equally the enemies of them all.
Vattel was no Machiavelli, but neither was he a progenitor of the idea that the “international community” should intervene in the internal affairs of sovereign states. Vattel’s 1759 treatise, which provided the framework for much late-eighteenth-century discussion of international politics, maintained that in practice many obligations among states could be interpreted as nonbinding. 6 For Vattel a state’s honor and reputation were not questions of vanity but of self-preservation: “A nation whose reputation is well established – especially one whose glory is illustrious – is courted by all sovereigns; they desire its friendship, and are afraid of offending it.
In plain English, this meant not only that nice rulers ﬁnished last but also that others paid a price for their pusillanimity or naivet´e. The example foremost in Machiavelli’s mind was that of his patron, Piero Soderini, gonfaloniere of the Florentine Republic. Soderini was a worthy character, but his timidity and bungling had contributed to the Prepared To Be Not Good, 1781–1788 29 republic’s downfall and the Medici restoration in 1512. ”10 What he lacked in conventional religious belief, Machiavelli more than made up for in his faith in humanity’s capacity for terrestrial achievement.