America’s Founding Fathers and Modern Globalism

In the past couple of weeks, most of the classroom conversation and assigned readings have been about the debate surrounding anti-federalism and federalism in the early days of America.  In one of our classes the question was asked about whether the policies of President Donald Trump could be more strongly linked to the ideology of the early federalists or anti-federalists. This got me thinking about whether or not a president would be more likely to embrace globalist policies depending on which of these two ideologies that he subscribed to. According to the Webster’s Dictionary, the word globalism refers to national geopolitical policy in which the entire world is regarded as the appropriate sphere for a state’s influence, and a national geopolitical policy in which the entire world is regarded as the appropriate sphere for a state’s influence.
A globalist is then of course, someone who advocates for globalism.
While I think it is safe to assume that the federalists and anti-federalists whom we have been discussing could not have imagined the international community as complex as it is today, there is evidence that both sides understood the importance of international ties with with other nations as it pertains to commerce and trade. The distrust they seem to have had for foreign governments, however, is also the clearly the same as what we witness today. As participants in a young democracy, they clearly understood the need to put their fledgling of a country before that of other nations. Anti-federalist Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying, “Commerce with all nations, alliances with none, should be our motto”, while the federalist George Washington wrote, “A people who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and will pursue their advantages, may achieve almost anything,” and “Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world. Today, unfortunately, there is prevalence of the sentiment that one—or one’s country should self sacrifice for the good of the international community. This new concept of globalism is the opposite of the idea propagated by both federalists and anti-federalists of the importance of the strong sovereign state.
After listening to President Trump’s latest speech to the United Nations, it is apparent that he shares both anti-federalists and federalists concerns as they relate to the role that the United States plays in the world. Making many references to the sovereignty of the United States, it is obvious to the political observer that he has a lack of trust in international institutions such as the United Nations and NATO. This was to be expected based on campaign rhetoric and promises during the 2016 presidential elections. Some, however, may have expected a more critical view of the international involvement of the United States, while the newly elected head of state demonstrated he sees the value in diplomacy, international collaboration, and the combined efforts to prevent another world war. President Trump—while affirming the right of all nations to pursue what is in their best interests, especially in regards to the United States—acknowledges the importance of the international community. It is, however, apparent that he sees his loyalty and his responsibilities are to the American people first, before implicating his country in affairs abroad.

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2 Responses to America’s Founding Fathers and Modern Globalism

  1. bohumilak says:

    “Commerce with all nations, alliances with none, should be our motto”, exactly that can be seen as current US approach. We can even polemize about what openness in commerce is the US really offering to other countries. United States was never to conform to the international community and we shouldn’t be surprised when Donald Trump is following this rule. We can wonder if America was ever making allies in the sense we understand this term or if all the countries always stood below the US in its imagined hierarchy. Old American conviction that no institution as anything else can stand above the US Constitution makes international institutions such as the UN and NATO less effective. Once there are no American interests behind NATO actions, we can expect decrease in US involvement. Simple fact is that with Donald Trump Europe looses protection provided by its Big Brother even if it was being diminished for years with deepening of the Transatlantic gap. Some argue that the US and Europe share no common interests anymore. As an example we can take the quote from this post seeing it unfortunate that there is prevalence of the sentiment that one—or one’s country should self sacrifice for the good of the international community. From the European perspective it rather should, from the American one, as I see it, definitely not.

  2. MeganLynde says:

    I’m curious if most anti-federalists shared the same beliefs as Thomas Jefferson during that time period and if most federalists shared the same beliefs as George Washington. Sometimes, there are mixed views among both sides, similar to political parties today. Not everyone falls into left or right. I think it would be interesting to see if Trump’s attitude towards globalism are reminiscent of any one specific federalist or anti-federalist of the past. In light of globalism, and Trump’s unique attitude towards foreign affairs, I just read an article today that claims he offered Ivana, his first wife, the Czech Republic ambassador post. This shows that Trump values loyalty and would prefer people he trusts to handle global matters.

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