A History of the Foreign Policy of the United States

A History of the Foreign Policy of the United States

A History of the Foreign Policy of the United States

A History of the Foreign Policy of the United States

Excerpt

The madness of the European powers, and the calamitous situation into which all of them are thrown by the present ruinous war, ought to be a serious warning to us to avoid a similar catastrophe, so long as we can with honor and justice to our national character." That is not President Woodrow Wilson writing in 1915 but President George Washington writing to Edmund Pendleton in 1795. The problem of 1795 was in many respects the problem of 1915 and unless Americans can be induced to take a greater interest in their foreign policy, it is likely to be the problem of the next hundred years.

There is increasing evidence of the need for brief surveys of the history of our foreign relations which will, in a measure, popularize our knowledge of the subject. By this I do not mean that we need popular writers on the subject. We need them, too, but the supply of these is at least equal to the demand. Many of us who have lived through the last ten years have felt the need of books on our foreign policy which will epitomize the results of research in the field, and especially books written in a language which is intelligible to the reader, who, without being in any sense a specialist, yet desires to read on the subject. There are few matters in which history is quoted quite so glibly to prove a point as in the formation of our foreign policy, and yet there are few matters on which the best of us are so ill-informed as to what took place.

In a book which draws from all periods of American History, it is frequently more important to know what to leave out than to know what to put in. A great deal of inherited historical material has been deliberately omitted, because much of it appears less significant to-day than once it seemed to be. The last three chapters, of course, ought to be judged on an entirely different basis from the others. What has happened since 1914 . . .

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