Anglophile American Presidents?

Sep 2017
27
Philippines
I can't think of even one, that had a genuine affection/attachment to Britain. With Ireland, perhaps, and JFK who's electorally self-benefiting and much trumpeted attachment to Ireland was not entirely fabricated - but not an American president who genuinely liked Britain itself.

in more modern times, Clinton studied there at Oxford and even though it is clear that he enjoyed it and benefited from the experience, I don't think he emerged from it with any real sentimental connection with Britain. It seems to me, that he nevertheless thought it was ultimately just another European country.

even FDR, Britain's supposedly steadfast ally in WW2, didn't particularly like them.

going further back, can anybody think of an American president, that really was an Anglophile?
 
Feb 2013
1,283
Second City
Theodore Roosevelt, of course, and Woodrow Wilson. The Adams family were also raging Anglophiles, from John on down to Henry.

As the son of a gruesome, fascist-fancying hater of the British Crown who nonetheless served as ambassador to London (which should give you as clue as to FDR's feelings towards the UK), John Fitzgerald Kennedy spent some school days in London, and was even distantly related by marriage to his British counterpart, Prime Minister Macmillan. (The saccharine showbiz mythos of Camelot was a later accretion, though Peter Lawford's swinish presence in the telegenic Kennedy Clan did add a sheen of trans-Atlantic cachet.)

Ronald Reagan developed a clientelistic relationship with Mrs. Thatcher that was in part reflected by a very conspicuous relationship with the British conservative establishment and the tradition and continuity it was held to represent, particularly in the persons of the Royal House of Windsor, which enjoyed rather good relations with the Reagan White House. The Anglo-American relationship was certainly given top billing in both capitals during the Reagan-Thatcher years. This was not the case with George Herbert Walker Bush, whose relations with Mrs. Thatcher were rather more fraught, and who was more inclined towards Helmuth Kohl's robust and newly reunited Germany as the United States' most favored nation in Europe.

Bill Clinton was perhaps the most Anglophile president since Wilson, in part attested to by the sheer number of Rhodes Scholars in his administration, many of whom Clinton had met during his time at Oxford, also on an intensely Anglo-American Rhodes Scholarship. Clinton's Anglophilia met fruitful ground in the person of Prime Minister Tony Blair, perhaps the first British PM to feel as comfortable in Chicago as he did in London or Rome. Mr. Blair got along just as well with Mr. Bush, and was if anything the more steadfast party with regards to the Anglo-American partnership, so in this instance the relationship is somewhat reversed.

Barack Obama had no real interest in Gordon Brown, and even less in David Cameron, and did remove a bust of Churchill that was gifted from the Blair Government to the Bush Administration. (Then again, one wouldn't particularly expect any person of Kenyan descent to have a great deal of warm feelings for Mr. Churchill, so the danger lies in reading too much into the thing.) During the 2011 NATO intervention against the regime of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, London was more closely coordinating with Paris and Berlin than any of those capitals appear to have been coordinating with Washington. While I don't think Obama would qualify as an Anglophile, it may as well be noted at the Great Recession was a time of general inward-turning in many states, where matters of foreign policy took a decidedly back seat to domestic concerns.


Donald Trump has no policies and probably needs to be reminded who Theresa May is, and he supported Britain's departure from the EU without particularly seeming to know or care what it meant. I cannot claim to be aware of Mrs. May's policies towards the United States.
 
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Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Yes. I recall reading that Woodrow Wilson was a strong anglophile. Reagan, likely because of his relationship with Thatcher more than anything else.
 
Feb 2013
1,283
Second City
While Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher did enjoy an unusually warm relationship due to mutual admiration and common politics, there was rather more to the Anglo-American relationship of the 1980s than the two heads of government getting on.

Anglophilia generally, and the cult of Winston Churchill in particular, was very strong within the whole of the Reagan administration. (The major exception would be Pat Buchanan, who has ever been a sullenly unreconstructed Lindbergh-McCarthyite, and a lifelong votary of traditional American Anglophobia.) Ideologically there’s very little mystery to this, as Anglophilia has always been a strong tendency amongst the neoconservatives who dominated the Reagan administration. Reagan ordered a portrait of Churchill be hung in the White House Situation Room shortly after taking office, and occasionally referred to his crooked, long-serving Secretary of Defense, Caspar Weinberger, as "my Disraeli." Weinberger, as well as being an avid collector of Churchilliana and a keen admirer of the old bulldog, was one of the very few Americans to receive an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for his "outstanding and invaluable" contribution to the Anglo-American Special Relationship. Soon after his presidency ended in 1989, Mr. Reagan was fêted at the Beverly Hilton Hotel by the Winston Churchill Foundation, and there invested with the Foundation's Winston Churchill Award by the Duke of Edinburgh himself. A very short time after the close of the Churchill Foundation's Hollywood festivities, Reagan was knighted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace.

Others of the Reagan court who expressed a genuine admiration for the "Mother Country," especially as embodied in its grizzled and hortatory Churchillian manifestations, would be his long-serving Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman; Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage (later knighted); the stuttering Walter Annenberg (Richard Nixon's ambassador to the Court of St. James's and son of the notorious, mobbed-up Moe) and his prim wife Lee, whom Reagan appointed as his administrations Chief of Protocol; Senator John Tower of Texas; Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia; and the troupe of journalists favored by the Reagan White House such as George Will, William F. Buckley, and William Safire. Nor do I feel compelled to recount the welter of Anglophilia and glitzy fairy tale spectacle that crashed upon the United States in the wake of Diana Spencer's marriage to the Prince of Wales in 1981, and her subsequent domination of American tabloids (particularly their glossy covers) which lasted well after her death in 1997.

So while the Reagan-Thatcher relationship is not to be underplayed, it oughtn't to be oversold, either. Anglophilia was generally on the ascendant in 1980s Washington D.C.
 
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Oct 2017
95
Mars
Curious, which Prime Ministers had an affinity for the United States? (No sarcasm here, genuinely curious... I'm not well-versed on all of GB's Prime Ministers.)
 
Feb 2013
1,283
Second City
Curious, which Prime Ministers had an affinity for the United States? (No sarcasm here, genuinely curious... I'm not well-versed on all of GB's Prime Ministers.)
Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair. There was quite a lot of warmth between the upper strata of both British and American societies beginning in the 1890s, especially after the almost-war between the United States and British Empire over the Venezuelan border. Lots of enthusiasm began bubbling at that time for comity between the “Anglo-Saxon races” and their imperial projects.
 
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