Studies in US Diplomatic History
Richard H. Immerman
Office Hours: Tuesday, 09-11; Wednesday, 10-11; and by appt.
Over the past several decades the history of U.S. Foreign Relations has undergone a renaissance. Exploiting archives in different lands and different languages, scholars have asked new questions, examined non-state as well as state actors, and applied interdisciplinary methodologies and innovative conceptual frameworks. These efforts have generated great excitement while at the same time expanding the parameters of–some would argue transforming and even redefining–the field itself. Even the name has been called into question as historians have debated whether it is a subset of U.S. history, international history, transnational history, or world history. The end of the cold war and fluidity of the contemporary international environment, often represented and even distorted by labels such as globalization and global war on terrorism, provided further impetus to this phenomenon.
This course will broaden your familiarity with the historiography as well as the history of U.S. foreign relations by concentrating on its underpinnings. To begin this process you will all become intimately acquainted with the essays in Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations. Collectively, they represent neither a manual or recipe book. Indeed, the “the table of contents” has evolved along with the field. The second edition, which you will read, includes many different essays from the first. And a third edition will come out next year, once again replacing some of the current essays with new ones and further enlarging the “menu”—and the possibilities.
My intention in assigning these essays is to stimulate your thinking–and imagination–about what has, should, can, and will be written. Each of you will select, or I will assign, one of these “think pieces,” about which you will prepare a five-to-ten-minute oral presentation at our next–September 4–meeting. You should capture the author’s diagnoses and prescriptions, evaluate what you consider the pros and cons, suggest what (if any) subject areas you believe might lend themselves to the type of approach s/he recommends.
The subsequent session, on September 11, will launch our tour of the history of U.S. foreign policy—at least this semester’s tour. Please note the chronological parameters. This course focuses on the pre-cold war years (although, as we’ll discuss, the inclusion of the titles in the last week’s reading is historiographically controversial). With that in mind, commencing with this class and extending to the semester’s end, three or four of you will read, in addition to the book assigned to everyone, one the of the other books listed each week on the syllabus. Phrased differently, for that week the “chosen” few will read two books. S/he will in no more than 1000 words review critically the selection (comparing it, when appropriate, to the one we all and any other works that come to mind). Please be sure to check the library for the book you will review in ample time for me, should it not be available and I not own a copy, to provide you with a substitute title.
These reviews will provide the basis for an approximately fifteen-minute oral presentation in which each presenter will supplement his/her review by providing illustrations from the book as well as to clarify or expand upon criticisms and arguments (you should not plan simply to summarize or paraphrase your written review; we can all read). The guide to writing a book review I have posted on the course webpage is just that: a general guide. Feel free to follow your own instincts or past practices. Be sure, however, not to end up writing a book report. The only other proscriptions are misspellings, mistakes in grammar, contractions, and passive voice.
You must send all of your reviews sent to me and the rest of the class as an email attachment at the very latest send by midnight of the Tuesday immediately preceding to your Thursday oral presentation. To ensure against snafus such as emails bouncing back and the junk mail phenomenon, as well as to facilitate subsequent references, I will post each of the reviews under under “Documents” on our Blackboard site by 10 a.m. on Wednesday (probably earlier). I ask that you do not print-out hard copies for myself or your classmates.
This deadline of midnight the prior Tuesday is particularly critical for the week’s designated “commentators.” Similar to the convention at scholarly meetings, class members assigned to “comment” will take about 5-10 minutes to analyze critically the review by identifying the strengths and weaknesses (of both the review and the book) and by posing questions about the subject matter, arguments, sources, methodology, etc. Because the commentator probably has (and need) not read the works under review, I will, if and when warranted, inject points of information and clarification.
The “audience participation” portion of the “panel” which will follow the presentations will provide further clarification—and insight. The “audience” (class) will be well informed because you all will have read that week’s assigned book and written a one-page review of it (those reviewing the week’s supplementary/complementary books must read the required one for that week but need not write a review of it. This will ensure both a healthy discussion of the required reading and robust practice in writing. I will grade all reviews “excellent,” “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” (“check +”, “check”, or “check -“).
The final assignment will be a comparative review essay of FOUR BOOKS (excluding those already reviewed in class) and TWO ARTICLES. It should run ten to fifteen double-spaced pages. The selections are yours to make and should, of course, be related to one another in some manner. I encourage you to base your choices on a theme, topic, or even individual that is of interest to you and/or is valuable for your respective areas of research. As part of the assignment, I want you to develop a list of six-eight books and 3-4 articles that you consider potentially appropriate for your comparative review essay, using the library, on-line data bases, bibliographies (including my “Big Ol'” one if appropriate), historiographic essays, footnotes from works we have read in class or you have read on your own, or any other means–just as you would if I asked you to prepare a research paper. I want you to send me your lists, along with a brief paragraph explaining your choices and identifying the framework that will knit together your comparative review, by Monday, October 27. At the same time suggest a date no later than Wednesday, November 11 when we can meet to discuss your proposal. The papers will be due (again by electronic submission) on or before December 11 (the first day of finals) by 10 AM.
You are probably interested in how I will grade your performance in this class. As a normative guideline I will base your grade on an even division between your written and oral work. The success of any graduate course is contingent on the collective contributions of everyone. If you are uncomfortable speaking out, or for that matter encounter any other problems, see me sooner rather than later. I may reward exceptional performance in one area by giving it extra weight in my calculations; don’t count on it, however. I encourage you come visit me at any time to discuss your progress or any other matter.
Required Reading (available at the TUCC Bookstore)
Hogan, Michael & Thomas Paterson, Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations (2nd edition)
Gilbert, Felix, To the Farewell Address: Ideas of Early American Foreign Policy
Harper, John, American Machiavelli: Alexander Hamilton and the Origins of U.S. Foreign Policy
Sexton, Jay, The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth Century America
Stephanson, Anders, Manifest Destiny: American Expansion and the Empire of Right
LaFeber, Walter, The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion
Kramer, Paul, Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines
Rosenberg, Emily, Financial Missionaries to the World: The Politics and Culture of Dollar Diplomacy
Manela, Ezra, Wilsonian Moment:Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism
Iriye, Akira, The Globalizing of America (2013 edition)
Heinrichs, Waldo, Threshold of War: Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Entry into World War II
Kimball, Warren, The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman
Walker, J. Samuel, Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan
Schedule of Sessions
Class Reading: Hogan and Paterson
Reviews: Individual essays
Class Reading: Gilbert
Bemis, Sam Flagg, Diplomacy of the American Revolution
Gould, Eliga, Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire
Hendrickson, David, Peace Pact: The Lost World of the American Founding
Smith, Robert W., Keeping the Republic: Ideology and Early American Diplomacy
Class Reading: Harper
Kaplan, Lawrence, Thomas Jefferson: Westward the Course of Empire
Matthewson, Tim, A Proslavery Foreign Policy: Haitian-American Relations during the Early Republic
Parker, Richard, Uncle Sam in Barbary: A Diplomatic History
Rossignol, Marie-Jeanne, The Nationalist Ferment: The Origin of US Foreign Policy
Class Reading: Sexton
Weeks, John Quincy Adams and Global Empire
Lewis, James, American Union and the Problem of Neighborhood
Cusick, James,The Other War of 1812: The Patriot War and the American Invasion of Spanish East Florida
Stagg, J. C. A., The War of 1812: Conflict for a Continent
Class Reading: Stephanson
Graebner, Norman, Empire on the Pacific: A Study in American Continental Expansion
Greenberg, Amy, The Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 Invasion of Mexico
Horsman, Reginald, Race and Manifest Destiny: Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism
Hietala, Thomas, Manifest Design: American Exceptionalism and Empire (2003 title)
Class Reading: LaFeber
Hoganson, Kristin, Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars
May, Ernest, Imperial Democracy: The Emergence of America as a Great Power
Ninkovich, Frank, Global Dawn: The Cultural Foundation of American Internationalism
Perez, Louis, War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography
Class Reading: Kramer
Hunt, Michael, Making of a Special Relationship: The United States and China to 1914
Henning, Joseph, Outposts of Civilization: Race, Religion, and the Formative Years of American-Japanese Relations
Neu, Charles, Uncertain Friendship: Theodore Roosevelt and Japan
Young, Marilyn,The Rhetoric of Empire: America-China Policy, 1895-1901
Class Reading: Rosenberg
Colby, Jason, The Business of Empire: United Fruit, Race, and U.S. Expansion in Central America
Nichols. Christopher McKnight, Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Age
Renda, Mary, Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism
Veeser, Cyrus, A World Safe for Capitalism: Dollar Diplomacy and America’s Rise to Global Power
Class Reading: Manela
Ambrosius, Lloyd, Woodrow Wilson and the American Diplomatic Tradition
Kennedy, Ross, The Will to Believe: Woodrow Wilson, World War I, and America’s Strategy for Peace and Security
Knock, Thomas, To End All Wars; Woodrow Wilson and the Quest for a New World Order
Widenor, William, Henry Cabot Lodge and the Search for an American Foreign Policy
Class Reading: Iriye
Dingman, Roger, Power in the Pacific: The Origins of Naval Arms Limitations, 1914-1922
Hogan, Michael, Informal Entente: The Private Structure of Cooperation in Anglo-American Economic Diplomacy
Johnson, Robert David, The Peace Progressives and American Foreign Relations
Leffler, Melvin, The Elucive Quest: American Pursuit of European Stability and French Security
Class Reading: Heinrichs
Doenecke, Justus, Storm on the Horizon: The Challenge to American Intervention
Kaiser, David, No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War
Thorne, Christopher, Limits of Foreign Policy
Reynolds, David, The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance, 1937-1941: A Study in Competitive Cooperation
Class Reading: Kimball
Borgwardt, Elizabeth, A New Deal for the World: America’s Vision for Human Rights
Costigliola, Frank, Roosevelt’s Lost Alliances: How Personal Politics Helped to Start the Cold War
Dower, John, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War
Louis, Wm Roger, Imperialism at Bay: The United States and the Decolonization of the British Empire
Class Reading: Walker
Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb
Hasegawa, Tsuyoshi, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan
Miscamble, Wilson, The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan
Sherwin, Martin, A World Destroyed: Hiroshima and its Legacies