American Statesmen: Secretaries of State from John Jay to Colin Powell is intended to introduce readers to the persons who have held the office of secretary of state of the United States throughout its history. As a biographical dictionary, this volume provides neither a detailed narrative of U.S. diplomatic history nor a comprehensive analysis of the foreign policies of our republic. However, because the secretary of state is legally charged with at least some responsibility for the actions of the U.S. government as it pertains to foreign affairs, most of the important issues in U.S. diplomatic history are discussed in the essays of this book.
Some readers may question the need for such a book, given the decline in influence of the secretary of state and the State Department in U.S. foreign policy formulation, especially since World War II. In The Politics of United States Foreign Policy, Jerel Rosati has argued that the decline in the State Department's policymaking role is due to four global and historical patterns, or what one could call structural changes: (1) the increasing importance of international affairs, (2) the growing power of the United States in the world, (3) innovations in communication technology, and (4) an increase in the use of force to attain U.S. foreign policy goals. The U.S. government, in the face of the increasing importance of foreign affairs, fashioned instruments that displaced the State Department's bureaucratic monopoly in the executive branch in the area of foreign policy. The establishment of new institutional tools to aid the United States in the defense of its foreign policy interests begun by President Franklin D. Roosevelt with such agencies as the Export-Import Bank, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), more commonly known as the World Bank, was not a temporary aberration due to the extreme conditions of the Great Depression and the Second World War.
Rather, Roosevelt's agencies were the harbingers of a new burst of institution building carried out by his successor, Harry S Truman, in the face of the newly per-