The Man in the Street: The Impact of American Public Opinion on Foreign Policy

The Man in the Street: The Impact of American Public Opinion on Foreign Policy

The Man in the Street: The Impact of American Public Opinion on Foreign Policy

The Man in the Street: The Impact of American Public Opinion on Foreign Policy


Why de we behave like Americans in regard to the outside world? This is the basic question that the present volume attempts to answer, and in so doing it is a pioneering enterprise. Several general books have been written on what we currently think about domestic and (somewhat incidentally) foreign affairs, but so far as the author is aware no effort has been made on a wide scale to correlate the "what" with the "why," the present with the past. The treatment is broadly interpretative and, like many other pathbreaking endeavors, is suggestive rather than exhaustive. The author hopes that some of the areas here opened will be further cultivated by later settlers. The topical rather than the narrative approach seemed desirable, even at the cost of some slight but inevitable duplication.

A warning regarding perspective must be posted. Singling out special topics for individual chapters may lead to the impression that those topics were more important to the American public than they really were. Singling out foreign affairs for concentrated treatment may lead to the impression that overseas lands loomed larger in our thinking than they actually have. Singling out the American people for special consideration may lead to the impression that we are more blameworthy than others. American nature reveals no marked differences from human nature.

The following colleagues graciously read and helpfully commented on parts of the manuscript relating to their special interests: Claude A. Buss, George J. Hall, John J. Johnson, Ralph H. Lutz, Adolph F. Meisen, and Clifford F. Weigle. Edith R. Mirrielees, Professor Emeritus of English at Stanford University, and editor of the Pacific Spectator, cheerfully assumed the task of reading and criticizing the entire manuscript. I am also indebted to her for permission to republish the material that appeared as Finnish Facts in the Pacific Spectator. William A. Lydgate, editor of the American Institute of Public Opinion, also read the entire manuscript, and made many valuable suggestions as to a proper interpretation of the polls. Dr. Alden Jamison gave me special permission to use his manuscript doctoral dissertation at Harvard University, entitled, "Irish-Americans: The Irish Question and American Diplomacy, 1895-1921." Numerous students have contributed useful ideas, and I am particularly indebted to Jacob M. Bellig, Malcolm C. Hanna, Albert G. Pickerell, and J. D. Williams. My wife, Sylvia Dean Bailey, helpfully criticized a substantial portion of the manuscript and read proof.


June, 1947


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