John Quincy Adams
October 26, 2011
I. The American dream of politics without conflict, and of politics without political parties, has a history as old as American politics. Anyone carried along on the political currents since 2008, however, might be forgiven for thinking that the dream is something new—and that a transformative era was finally at hand, in which the old politics of intense partisan conflict, based on misunderstanding, miscommunication, and misanthropy, could be curbed if not ended. After the presidency of George W.
The Company Of Giants
March 17, 2011
Madison and Jefferson By Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg (Random House, 809 pp., $35) Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were more than good friends. These two Virginians and Founding Fathers participated in what was probably the greatest political collaboration in American history. Indeed, the history of the early republic is incomprehensible without an understanding of this political partnership.
First, Do No Harm
July 12, 2010
This is the most recent item in a debate about humanitarian intervention.
Welcome to Entanglements
June 22, 2010
First, Entanglements. As we sat around searching for the right word, a friend remarked that Entanglements abraded even his own frankly coarsened sensibilities. Why? Entanglements, after all, neatly summarizes the foreign policy challenges to which one administration after another has provided no adequate response. But the word also has a toxic resonance. Casting a glance backward to George Washington’s farewell address, my colleague knew the admonition against foreign entanglements, and its historical abuses, all too well.
Against the veto.
October 09, 2006
This summer, President Bush issued a veto for the first time. The occasion: a bill--passed by wide but not veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate-- that would have expanded federal funding of stem-cell research. Following Bush's announcement, liberals, predictably, denounced his move as a capitulation to the religious right, while conservatives, just as predictably, lauded his commitment to the sanctity of life.
Freedoms and Feelings
April 07, 2003
I. The Passions of Andrew Jackson by Andrew Burstein (Alfred A. Knopf, 292 pp., $25) Early in 1834, at the height of his war with the Second Bank of the United States, President Andrew Jackson received at the White House several deputations of businessmen, who pleaded with him to change course. Believing that the Bank was an unrepublican, unaccountable monopoly, Jackson had vetoed its federal recharter and ordered the government's deposits in it removed.
January 30, 1995
The Republic of Letters: The Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison 1776-1826 edited by James Morton Smith (W.W. Norton, 3 volumes, 2,073 pp., $150) Perhaps all heroes are conveyed to posterity as singular and solitary beings. In the case of Thomas Jefferson, however, the splendor of his isolation seems an essential aspect of his reputation. Jefferson's ultimate act of solitary creation was, of course, the drafting of the Declaration of Independence in June 1776. Sitting in a Windsor chair with his lap-desk and a quill pen, he wrote the magic words of American history.
The War Between Adams and Hamilton
January 01, 1962
The Adams Papers: Volumes I through IV, Diary and Autobiography of John Adams L. H. Butterfield, editor (Harvard; $30) The Papers of Alexander Hamilton: Volumes I and II Harold C. Syrett, editor (Columbia; $25) In 1950, when the Princeton University Press brought out the first volumes of Julian Boyd's edition of the Jefferson papers. President Truman asked the National Historical Publications Commission to consider a publication program for other American heroes.