Andrew Jackson Needs Alexander Hamilton

Our own Walter Russell Mead is in the Wall Street Journal today arguing that “nationalism” and “globalism”—two words that are often deployed in opposition to each other these days—are actually mutually reinforcing when done right. America’s “globalist” project—providing the conditions for international order and economic growth—requires a strong and united population at home, and a leadership class attuned to its wants and needs. Meanwhile, fulfilling America’s “nationalistic” objectives—keeping Americans secure and their standards of living rising—requires engagement with the wider world. An excerpt:

Mr. Trump is learning that some of the core goals of his Jacksonian program can be realized only by judiciously employing the global military, diplomatic and economic statesmanship associated with Alexander Hamilton. Bringing those two visions into alignment isn’t easy. Up until the Civil War, the American party system revolved around the rivalry of the Jacksonian Democrats with the Hamiltonian Whigs. Abraham Lincoln fused Jacksonian unionism with Henry Clay’s Hamiltonian vision when he created the modern Republican Party. Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan revitalized the party of their times by returning to the Jacksonian-Hamiltonian coalition that made the old party grand. […]

For the coalition to work, Hamiltonians need to realize that the health and cohesion of American society is fundamental to the world order that allows corporations and financial firms to operate so profitably in the global market. In other words, Peoria matters much more than Davos. It was American power and will that built the present world order and ultimately must sustain it. A divided society with an eviscerated middle class cannot provide the stable, coherent leadership that is required.

Effective American statesmanship would reconcile the spirit of Jackson with the spirit of Hamilton, navigating the global order to protect America’s national interests. Read the whole thing to get more of a sense of how this synthesis might look.

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