America First was published in 1916 by the American Book Company. It was written by Jasper L. McBrien, who at the time of the writing was School Extension Specialist for the United States Bureau of Education, and a former Superintendent of Public Instruction of Nebraska.
McBrien writes in the Foreward:
The rising generation, both native-born and foreign, to get the full meaning of this slogan (America First) in its far-reaching significance, must have time for study and reflection along patriotic lines. There must be the right material on which the American youth may settle their thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is to have a new birth of freedom and if ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.’ The prime and vital service of amalgamating into one homogenous body the children alike of those who are born here and of those who come here from so many different lands must be rendered this Republic by the school teachers of America.
Brien continues: The purpose of this book is to furnish the teachers and pupils of our country, material with which the idea of true Americanism may be developed until ‘America First’ shall become the slogan of every man, woman, and child in the United States.
I cannot say it better.
I have lived most of the years since this book was published. I have lived the changes. I believe that we need a large dose of patriotism and an understanding of our history now more than ever before. In my 98 years, I have seen our ship of state on so many different courses. But, I’ve never seen the culture in such turmoil and division as exists now. Nor have I seen such effort to render us rudderless. This always seems so tragic when we have been given by our Founders the greatest set of maps, our founding documents, ever devised for any people with which to keep a ship of state on course. They were carefully designed to make certain that the government was of the people, by the people, and for the people.
I fear the shoals, the rocks, the reefs, and horrific storms ahead. With the dialogue of pending impeachment, the hate expressed by the media and various factions, the general tenor of discontent in our country are all signs of trouble in our Republic. The constant battle of the “transfomers” to change our country to something far from its founding is very dangerous to that very founding. The desire to change fundamental principles and documents in our nation is a sign that the battle is real and intense. These people who hate the Captain of our ship so intensely that they are willing to sell their souls to insist on a new Captain. We are in dangerous waters; we need to pay close attention to what these entrenched change-agents are doing to our Republic. They want to turn our founding documents and founding principles to the opposite extremes. Socialism, as they profess it, makes extinct our remarkable constitution and founding documents that keep us governmentally a republic. That is our heritage, that is our uniqueness and that better be our future.