Andrew Jackson Lives! America’s Foreign-Policy Populism. By Robert Golan-Vilella. The National Interest, December 5, 2013.
In his well-known book Special Providence, Walter Russell Mead laid out a typology that divided American foreign-policy thinking into four broad schools: the big-government, pro-business Hamiltonians; the Wilsonians, determined to spread U.S. values around the world; the Jeffersonians, concerned primarily with preserving America’s identity at home; and a group that he dubbed the Jacksonians. While the first three are readily identifiable—and well represented within the Washington elite (especially the the first two)—the Jacksonian school is at once the most difficult to describe and the most interesting. Mead calls it a “large populist school” that “believes that the most important goal of the U.S. government in foreign and domestic policy should be the physical security and the economic well-being of the American people.” Its adherents believe that America should not seek out foreign wars. But should it become involved in them, then “there is no substitute for victory,” in the words of Douglas MacArthur.
Jacksonian opinion is instinctively protectionist, seeking trade privileges for American goods abroad and hoping to withhold those privileges from foreign exports. . . . They see the preservation of American jobs, even at the cost of some unspecified degree of “economic efficiency,” as the natural and obvious task of the federal government’s trade policy.
Likewise, Mead says that Jacksonians “are also skeptical, on both cultural and economic grounds, of the benefits of immigration,” seeing it as “endangering the cohesion of the folk community and introducing new, low-wage competition for jobs.”