John Quincy Adams: His Theory and Ideas

By George A. Lipsky | Go to book overview

18
Major Adamsian Concepts in International Politics

I occasionally answered his remarks, by observing to him [ Alexander I] . . . that being at once a great commercial and a pacific nation, they [the United States] were greatly interested in the establishment of a system which should give security to the fair commerce of nations in time of war.

-- MEMOIRS, November 5, 1809


THE MONROE DOCTRINE AND ADAMS'S STRATEGIC ONCEPTIONS

A study of the Monroe Doctrine, John Quincy Adams's authorship of which cannot be doubted, is most important for an understanding of his conception of the goals and conditions of United States foreign policy. The villain of the piece in the mind of the doctrine's architect was most probably Great Britain, a none too surprising judgment in view of his overriding anti-British prejudice. Almost thirty years earlier, in a letter from London, he had speculated upon the importance of a projected British expedition to Santo Domingo and remarked that its success should not be wished for by Americans. He had observed that the preparation of such an expedition showed that the real purpose of the British in the war they were then waging with France was the establishment of their commercial and maritime supremacy, that the realization of this goal vis-a-vis the United States required British domination of the West Indies and prevention of American penetration into that area.1

____________________
1
To Timothy Pickering, London, December 22, 1795, Writings, I, 462-463.

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