Senior Fellow Charles Edel's new chapter "Extending the Sphere: A Federalist Grand Strategy," in Rethinking American Grand Strategy looks at how The Federalist Papers served as the first articulation of American grand strategy, and examines its effect on the subsequent development of early American statecraft. The book brings together a group of preeminent scholars writing on American statecraft in an attempt to broaden and redefine the field.
In the beginning, there was an ocean. Actually, two. Or, depending on how one counted, three. The traditional story of America’s growth centers on this geographical fact. With distance came safety, and with safety an opportunity for the young nation to expand its territory, capitalize on its abundant resources, and develop its republican institutions free from threat of invasion. Writing in 1960, the distinguished historian of the American South, C. Vann Woodward, took up the question of how security affected the American character. “Nature’s gift of three vast bodies of water,” Woodward observed, counting not only the Atlantic and the Pacific, but the Arctic as well, “interposed between this country and any other power that might constitute a serious menace to its safety” provided it with “free security.”
Describing Adam and Eve’s banishment from the Garden of Eden, John Milton ended Paradise Lost with the hopeful phrase “the world was all before them, where to choose their place to rest, and Providence their guide.” Though written in the midst of the English Civil War, Milton’s words capture precisely the view that Woodward reflected in his glance back at the nation’s early years. According to this reading of history, all America had to do was march west into the sunlight. Of course, it did not take a historian writing in the midst of the Cold War to realize the significance of these fundamental geographic facts. From the very beginning of American history, American statesmen understood that circumstance and geographic realities afforded them certain opportunities.
To read more of Charles Edel's chapter please visit the publisher's website