Monday, January 23, 2017

A Short History of America First

It didn't work the first time around. The Nazis had invaded Europe and were closing in on Britain and the country was torn. FDR wanted to help Britain and did it through Lend Lease but he had incredible push back from Charles Lindbergh among others who formed up an organization called America First. It basically was an isolationist organization that said the rest of the world can do what it wants we are  behind our oceans and we are only concerned with our well being. We will make our own goods and buy our own goods and the rest of the world can fend for themselves. Sound familiar?

In the 1930s this was a strong sentiment with the Great Depression hanging on for ten years. It really began after World War I when Wilson's League of Nations failed and the United States didn't even ratify the Treaty of Versailles ending the war. Henry Cabot Lodge and the Republicans felt America should avoid foreign entanglements and so we did and the 1920s began and we went on a long party and left the world for about twenty years right up to when the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor.

The problem with America First is even though we have our oceans we are no longer able to pull away. The world has a nasty habit of going off the rails when we decide our own interests are preeminent over global responsibility. Americans like to believe we can go back to a time when America First was possible and we could just leave the world. Ask anyone who remembers December 7, 1941 how that worked out.

Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson

Books by William Hazelgrove