The United States is in the early stages of an unsettled era, one in which its gains and global standing of the last seventy-five years are being challenged from all directions. Naturally, heated debate over its future seems more the rule than exception. The Biden Administration’s recent decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan was an especially intense expression of just how contested, and how deeply felt, Americans’ views have become. For those of us in Washington, the Afghanistan debate served as a stark reminder that nowhere is this great debate less settled than on college campuses. For young people, the contest over America’s role in the world is not a new phenomenon, but a baseline. For them, 9/11 is a hazy memory, the Cold War victory and the booming 90s are faded history, and the ‘end of history’ itself is a bad prophecy. They are coming of age in a very different America, one shaped by competition and complication instead of preeminence and prosperity.
With that in mind, it seems more critical than ever to give young people space to think out loud, constructively and independently, about what ‘strong and principled American leadership’ means not only in the present, but for the future: for the next generation – their generation – of American leaders. Unfortunately, no such outlets exist at the national level. While our students are amateurs in the professional sense, this is not necessarily true in the intellectual sense. They invest a significant amount of time and energy working through the same problems and issues as their more established counterparts and it’s important, for the sake of present and future, to provide them time and space to show it.
To address that gap, the Alexander Hamilton Society is excited to launch The Hamiltonian as a concrete extension of our mission to identify, educate, and launch young men and women into foreign policy and national security careers imbued with strong Hamiltonian principles. Contrary to some narratives on offer in today’s press, the dominant tone animating the young people we are proud to publish in this inaugural edition is more responsible than rebellious, more devoted than derelict to what America has built, defended, and advanced. From grappling with asymmetric approaches to China to making diverse cases for the defense and advancement of human freedom to why Alexander Hamilton’s own views are right for this moment, our authors wield history with humility, yet confidence in its value.
As you read through this inaugural volume, we hope that you, like us, feel more optimistic than ever in this country’s future course. Read, share, submit, support, and join, for I am confident we will all one day be tracking back to these pages for early understandings of the outlooks of our leaders.
Dr. Gabriel Scheinmann is the Executive Director of the Alexander Hamilton Society, an independent, non-partisan, not-for-profit, membership organization dedicated to promoting constructive debate on basic principles and contemporary issues in foreign, economic, and national security policy. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Georgetown University and his B.A. from Harvard College.
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