A July 4 Warning Against Empire

By:  Jack Kenny
07/05/2011
       
A July 4 Warning Against Empire

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State in the administration of President James Monroe, offered a toast to his native America on July 4, 1821. The Republic was yet young, just 45 years after declaring its independence of Great Britain. The glories of its destiny were mainly to come. But the glories foreseen by Adams, the son of America’s second President and destined to be its sixth, were not triumphs of conquest, but rather the majesty of a nation leading truly by the force of example instead of the example of force.

For America, said Adams, with the same voice by which it spoke itself into existence, similarly held forth to other lands the “hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice and of equal rights. She has in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining our own.”

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State in the administration of President James Monroe, offered a toast to his native America on July 4, 1821. The Republic was yet young, just 45 years after declaring its independence of Great Britain. The glories of its destiny were mainly to come. But the glories foreseen by Adams, the son of America’s second President and destined to be its sixth, were not triumphs of conquest, but rather the majesty of a nation leading truly by the force of example instead of the example of force.

For America, said Adams, with the same voice by which it spoke itself into existence, similarly held forth to other lands the “hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice and of equal rights. She has in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining our own.”

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