The Purpose of American Politics

  • Richard Ned Lebow


The Purpose of American Politics was Morgenthau’s first attempt to author a book primarily about the United States. He explores opposing American political traditions and their implications for foreign policy. In the process, he comments on past and present domestic and foreign crises and the ways they are refracted by Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian understandings of the national purpose. Morgenthau is drawn to the Hamiltonian approach, which is realist in its assumptions. He is nevertheless sympathetic to Jeffersonian emphasis on freedom, which differentiates America, in his view, from other countries. The book represents Morgenthau’s coming to terms with America: it lauds the purposes for which the country was founded. The overall argument of the book is nevertheless pessimistic. On the home front and abroad, Morgenthau contends that America has lost its sense of purpose.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Ned Lebow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of War StudiesKing’s College LondonLondonUK

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