In every century since the founding of the United States, external enemies have tested the strength of the American republic, national security, and political principles.
September 11, 2001 was not the first catastrophic attack on U.S. territory. In 1814, the British burned Washington, D.C., and, in 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. A look back at these two events reminds us that 9/11 was not a wholly unique event. The destruction, death and shock of the attacks reinforced a lesson learned previously by generations of brave Americans who bequeathed to us a United States, independent, strong, and free.
After the American Revolution, the Napoleonic wars in Europe prompted England and France to infringe upon American sovereignty on the high seas. France demanded bribes in its diplomacy and England impressed Americans, forcing them to serve in the British Navy. In response to these violations of American independence, the United States sought to assert its sovereignty and secure the hard-won blessings of liberty for American citizens. But years of inadequate defense spending had left the United States ill-prepared to fight the War of 1812.
In the summer of 1814, British troops landed in Maryland and within eleven days captured Washington, D.C. They burned the Houses of Congress, the White House, and the Library of Congress (which housed Jefferson’s collection of books). Though Great Britain and America soon negotiated a peace, the ultimate cost of the war was much more expensive than increased defense preparations would have been.
Over a century later, Japan was in political and military increasingly aggressive in Asia in the 1930s largely uncontrolled. The confusion and discord led to shyness at home in America and abroad. Isolationism growing on one side and a change that altruistic foreign policy based on other U.S. interests were protected.
The fight against radical Islamic terrorism responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001 has its own set of unique challenges and requires new strategies. But 9 / 11, the world has not changed, so that new principles are needed to protect America. We are still a people to exercise self-government and abroad, the desire for independence. America has irreconcilable enemies front: the British in the nineteenth century and Japan in the twentieth century. But grand strategy is needed to meet these challenges is still one of the founding fathers of the United States.
In 21 century, foreign powers continue to threaten our independence. U.S. can not withdraw from world affairs in a naive hope of safety alone. In fact, experience has shown that ignoring the threats abroad makes Americans less safe at home. To protect two centuries ago, in the middle of America to fight for its independence against the pressures of foreign powers, James Madison wrote: “It is a principle in the Commission’s consistent policy of the United States included, that peace is better than war, war is better as a tribute. “America’s commitment to its sovereign independence and preparing America’s military against their enemies to continue to protect the blessings of liberty to ensure its citizens.
This is the lesson of 9 / 11, that was a lesson in American history as an independent nation and should never be forgotten strengthened.