The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft held its third in-person event in its lifetime — and its first in over a year — to celebrate the 200th anniversary of then-Secretary of State John Quincy Adams’ speech to the U.S. House of Representatives on the role that the United States should play in the world.
We think of this as the “monsters abroad” speech, in which he declared, referring to the United States:
“Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers, shall be,” Adams declared. “But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”
As John Nichols noted in The Nation, “That statement remains the finest expression of the unique balance that a republic must strike if it wishes to avoid paying the morally and politically unaffordable wages of empire.”
That’s why we named ourselves after the be-whiskered former president, secretary of state, congressman, and abolitionist.
We also used this party to celebrate QI president Andy Bacevich’s latest (and 12th) book: After the Apocalypse: America’s Role in a World Transformed. In it, Bacevich calls for a radical reconceptualization of national security, taking into account the real threats posed to the American people over the past year.
Read John Nichols’ article about John Quincy Adams and QI in The Nation.