Striking a balance: The centrality of the Hamiltonian/Jeffersonian Debate in American foreign policy development

John Anthony Zeuli, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


"Foreign policy is the face a nation wears to the world. The aim is the same for all states--the protection of national integrity and interest. But the manner in which a state conceives and conducts its foreign policy is greatly affected by national peculiarities."{dollar}\sp1{dollar} The focus of this thesis is to illuminate the national peculiarities that have put a unique face on American foreign policy. I will examine the two basic tenets, or impulses, that have characterized U.S. foreign policy development: the Jeffersonian, or idealist, impulse and the Hamiltonian, or realist, impulse. My purpose is to show that each impulse is inextricably intertwined in the political psyche of the American people and their leaders. It is my contention that the key to successful foreign policy is finding the right balance between these two essential threads of American political history and tradition. ftn{dollar}\sp1{dollar}Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Cycles of American History, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1986), p. 51.