An Interpretive History of American Foreign Relations

An Interpretive History of American Foreign Relations

An Interpretive History of American Foreign Relations

An Interpretive History of American Foreign Relations

Excerpt

This history of American foreign relations differs from other books on the subject in at least three ways. First, in this volume I advance a hypothesis for interpreting the history of American foreign relations which tries to answer the "whys" rather than simply add fact upon fact. This hypothesis gradually evolved in my thinking during more than 25 years of study, teaching, and research on the subject. For me and for many of my students this interpretive approach helps to make the history of American foreign affairs more meaningful. I summarize my hypothesis in the first chapter of this book and apply it in succeeding chapters. Second, this book is briefer and less detailed than other volumes on the history of American foreign relations. Its brevity makes it more adaptable to one-term courses on that subject. It also makes it easy to use in combination with books of readings, documents, and monographs. Finally, without making it a bibliographical survey, I introduce readers to some of the leading scholars and their interpretations of American diplomatic history.

In this revised edition I have tried to refine, correct, and update the distinctive features of the original volume. I have retained the basic interpretive hypothesis, but have applied it more clearly and consistently throughout. In contrast to the common practice of permittling "compacts" to grow, I have further shortened this edition by eliminating repetition and less important material. In addition I have updated the references to recent scholars and their interpretations. In this connection I have substantially rewritten the final part on American foreign relations since World War II, updating it to 1973 and incorporating new data, perspectives, and interpretations.

My intellectual debts to teachers, scholars, and students who influenced my thinking are so numerous that it is impossible for me to acknowledge them properly. Six scholars, however, must be singled out for special emphasis: Fred W. Wellborn of the University of Maryland; Thomas A. Bailey . . .

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