Governance beyond the Nation State:
James Madison on Foreign Policy and
I begin my essay with the admission that I am not a Madison scholar. I am not an American historian or even a constitutional theorist. My background is in political philosophy. So I was delighted to hear that contributors to this volume are invited to consider Madison not only as an historical figure but also as “a fount of ideas for the future.” I am going to take that invitation seriously.
I shall examine Madison's protectionist foreign policy and, especially, his essay “Universal Peace.” But I shall conduct those examinations not to learn about the American founding moment, or even to see what lessons Madison might have for those of us living in America today. Rather, I wish to consider what Madison may have to tell us about the future. In particular, I wish to consider what Madison might have to tell us about the future not just for America, but also for the world as a political whole.
We celebrate the 250th anniversary of James Madison's birth at a time when great changes shape our world. Interconnectivity— technological, economic, cultural, and political—is the emblem that historians in the future will likely affix to our age. Of course, interconnectivity has been a steady feature of the human social experience. 1 The movement toward connectedness in our world today is neither unique nor unidirectional—the period of Taliban rule in Afghanistan stands merely as the most vibrant marker of an urge to retreat felt by many in our world.
Nonetheless, there seems to be something fundamentally different about the processes of interconnection the world is experiencing today. Historically familiar processes of human interconnection have widened in scope, with many dimensions of connection becoming genuinely global for the first time. The connective processes have