Donald Trump Isn't the First American Politician to Put 'America First'

PHOTO: Thousands gather at an America First Committee rally in the Chicago Arena to listen to organizations chairmen, Gen. Robert Wood and Col. Charles Lindbergh give speeches advocating for isolationism and cutting off aid to Britain, April 17, 1941.PlayThe LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Donald Trump's foreign policy speech today was the first time that the Republican presidential front-runner clearly declared his foreign policy priorities, and he summarized them as keeping "America First."

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He isn't the first person to do so.

"America First" has been the name of at least two political groups in the past century, both of which focused their platforms on non-interventionist foreign policies.

Opposing World War II Intervention

The first iteration came in the 1940s with the America First Committee, which was formed largely in an effort to keep the United States out of World War II.

Historian Arthur Schlesinger told PBS that there were a number of supporters for the party who went on to be prominent politicians, including later President Gerald Ford, later Rep. Jonathan Bingham, and relatives of the Taft family.

The committee's most famous supporter at the time of its existence was famed pilot Charles Lindbergh, who spoke at their rallies and championed the cause.

PHOTO: Charles Lindbergh speaks to a large crowd of America First Committee supporters in 1941.The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Charles Lindbergh speaks to a large crowd of America First Committee supporters in 1941.

The committee chose to disband days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Circling back to Trump's "America First" speech today, he praised America's intervention in World War II.

"We have a lot to be proud of in the 1940s. We saved the world. The greatest generation beat back the Nazis and Japanese imperialists. Then we saved the world again. This time, from totalitarianism and communism, the Cold War. It lasted for decades, but guess what, we won and we won big," Trump said today.

The Current Political Party Bearing the Phrase

The America First Party was created nearly six decades later by a group of demoralized supporters of Pat Buchanan who decided to form a group after his failed presidential bid in 2000 on the Reform Party ticket.

According to Jonathan Hill, the party's national chairman, they support "controlling our nation's borders, bringing back tariffs as opposed to free trade, and we're pretty much opposed to much of our foreign policy as it stands today."

The group is also socially conservative, but to an extent further than many of the Republican presidential candidates, as the America First Party "does not support abortion in all cases and they are opposed to homosexuality," Hill said.

At its peak, the group had state chapters in 47 states, "but at the present moment, we don't have many active state parties," Hill said.

The group has not run a candidate in the 2016 presidential race and has not endorsed any of the candidates, yet.

Hill said that he is "reserving my judgment on Donald Trump. ... But he does say a lot of the right words."

Hill specifically praised Trump's stances against NATO and for building up America's borders.

"He's an interesting candidate. He's shaking up the establishment," Hill told ABC News.

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