With the end of 1976 in view, William Safire flipped back to the Era of Good Feelings. In a New York Times op-ed charting how a president-elect might make foreign policy—with or without the Secretary of State’s input, and with or without the Soviet powers—Safire dredged up The Columbian Centinel’s best buzzwords of 1817 for foreign policy.
Meant “to describe the one-party euphoria of the James Monroe Administration,” Safire wrote, the era “turned out to be a time marked by petty factionalism and stagnation. Not until party partisanship reared its divisive head, under the banner of Andrew Jackson, did a vigorous two-party system get the nation moving again.” Safire’s read was a bit bent. Monroe, a popular president, had crossed party lines to secure his Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams, and seal other appointments. With Latin American revolutions alive, and American boundaries up for grabs, how “still” did things really feel from 1817 to 1825?