The State of American History

By Herbert J. Bass | Go to book overview
Save to active project

The State of American Diplomatic History


The study of American diplomatic history as a distinct field is a relatively recent development. It is young enough that many of its first practitioners are not only alive but, in terms of continuing scholarly production, quite well. Yet there are few fields which stand more in need of a critical rethinking than does this one.

As a field embracing not just one society but two or more in interaction, diplomatic history offers a unique opportunity for comparative, cosmopolitan, culturally relative analysis; in terms of subjects studied and interpretations offered, however, few fields of historical study have been more subject to presentism and national bias. While resisting, in general, the stimulation, insights, and methodology of the other social sciences, diplomatic history has permitted itself to succumb, in the particular, to a metaphysical debate over "realism" versus "idealism" first generated by political scientists. In an age when more Americans than ever are global-minded, and when more non-Americans than ever are aware of the American impact on their lives, no other subject of inquiry has more contemporary importance; yet diplomatic historians are often disparaged by other students of history for their alleged amateurism, imprecision, and lack of social context. They are, in the word of one of my colleagues, "sports."

Before making my own effort to assess the state of American diplomatic history,1 I set about to gain a more accurate and comprehensive picture of the raw material I wish to analyze: contemporary writings


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The State of American History


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 432

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?