Two Centuries of U. S. Foreign Policy: The Documentary Record

Two Centuries of U. S. Foreign Policy: The Documentary Record

Two Centuries of U. S. Foreign Policy: The Documentary Record

Two Centuries of U. S. Foreign Policy: The Documentary Record

Synopsis

Valone has selected 71 documents that have either defined America's place in the world or reflected a significant episode in the history of U.S. foreign affairs. Each selection is prefaced by brief introductory remarks, that place the document in context, and is followed by a short list of suggested readings for those interested in pursuing the topic further. Designed primarily to supplement a one-semester introductory level course covering U.S. diplomatic history from its origins to the present, this collection can, because of the large number of 20th century documents, also be used in a variety of upper-level undergraduate courses in U.S. history.

Excerpt

When given the opportunity to teach a one-semester survey course on U.S. foreign policy, I hoped to supplement my lectures with a book of documents that would introduce my students to primary source material. I was, however, unable to locate a satisfactory collection. A number of excellent books for the post-1890 period were available, but they were not appropriate for a class beginning in the late eighteenth century. The texts spanning the period from the Washington administration to the present were also not acceptable; some were out of date while others were two-volume collections that included scholarly essays which I thought would be more suitable for an upper-division class. My unsuccessful search ultimately led me to edit my own collection.

As I selected the documents to include in this textbook, I attempted to choose those that accomplished two goals: (1) the document had to be one that shaped and/or reflected a significant episode in the history of U.S. foreign affairs and (2) the document had to be one that helped to define America's place in the world. A brief introduction prefaces each document and serves primarily to place chronologically the issue discussed. A short list of further readings has been included as a starting point for students as they begin their own research.

A brief examination of the Contents will reveal a strong bias toward the twentieth century in the selection of documents. This was my intention from the beginning and reflects the way I structure my class. During the initial month or so of the semester I cover the first century of U.S. foreign policy. This allows me to develop major themes such as neutrality, expansion, and the Monroe Doctrine, and still leave adequate time to cover the progressively complex issues of the second century of U.S. foreign affairs. This approach is not unique and I trust that both colleagues and their students will find it satisfactory.

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