US Foreign Relations

Links to sites providing overviews of US foreign policy and foreign relations. Links to sites exploring a particular aspect/event. Links to key documents/texts in US foreign relations.

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Vincent Ferraro American Foreign Relations collection
Vincent Ferraro American Foreign Relations collection
The motherlode of documents and articles - sorted by period or theme. A vast number of documents dating back to the colonial era. Health warning: the scope of this site means you will only use it well if you know what you want. Start your search once you know what you're looking for.
The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History & Diplomacy
The Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History & Diplomacy
Yale Law School's archive of primary sources exploring the evolution of US Foreign Relations. Less comprehensive than the Ferraro site, but more focussed on key documents as a result.
National Security Archive: Electronic Briefing Books
National Security Archive: Electronic Briefing Books
The National Security Archive at GWU has produced a large number of declassified documents sets exploring all aspects of US foreign policy - including State Department & CIA briefings - from the early Cold War, to 9/11 and beyond. Each of 9 headings contain over 20 document sets with introductory reading. Health Warning: If you're new to a subject, read some background first before attempting these. A great resource for student research.
The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War
The World of 1898: The Spanish-American War
This is chronology page of this LoC site that explores the event that signalled the United States arrival as a modern imperial power. Start here and then follow the links to other pages of documents and analysis covering the different theatres of war.
Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War
Crucible of Empire: The Spanish-American War
PBS' companion site providing analysis, chronologies, source material and analysis of this critical event in modern US history.
Albert J. Beveridge maiden speech  (1900)
Albert J. Beveridge maiden speech (1900)
Beveridge is known as one of the great American imperialists. He supported the annexation of the Philippines and along with Republican leader Henry Cabot Lodge he campaigned for the construction of a new navy. How does this speech explain the imperialist agenda in Congress? How does it reflect the belief in Manifest Destiny?
The Platt Amendment (1901)
The Platt Amendment (1901)
The United States occupied Cuba for five years after 1898. In 1901 Secretary of War Elihu Root drafted a set of articles (later known as the Platt Amendment) as guidelines for future United States-Cuban relations. Despite considerable Cuban resistance, they became a part of the 1902 Cuban Constitution. In following years the United States used the amendment several times to send troops to maintain or place friendly governments in power and to protect investments. The amendment was effective until 1934.
Theodore Roosevelt's Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (1904)
Theodore Roosevelt's Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (1904)
If the Monroe Doctrine (1823) staked the United States claim for pre-eminence in the western hemisphere, Theodore Roosevelt's addendum - delivered in 1904 - stated what was already palpable fact: the United States believed it had the right to act as a continental policeman. The statement reflected an agenda first acted on in 1898, and followed until the advent of the Good Neighbor policy of the 1930s. How does Roosevelt explain and justify the agenda?
William Howard Taft, "Dollar Diplomacy" (1912)
William Howard Taft, "Dollar Diplomacy" (1912)
Here, Taft sets out the value and power of finance and commerce as tools of US foreign policy. How did this differ to Roosevelt & Wilson's approaches?
Woodrow Wilson Caribbean Policy (1913-1921)
Woodrow Wilson Caribbean Policy (1913-1921)
Interactive Map exploring the Wilson Administration's interventions in the region during the period of moral diplomacy.
Woodrow Wilson, Declaration of Neutrality (19/8/1914)
Woodrow Wilson, Declaration of Neutrality (19/8/1914)
Here U.S. President Woodrow Wilson addresses Congress and makes public the U.S. policy of neutrality. During his address, he warned U.S. citizens against taking sides in the war for fear of endangering the wider U.S. policy. Worth comparing to Wilson's later speeches contained here when considering the development of his foreign policy.
Teaching With Documents: The Zimmermann Telegram (1917)
Teaching With Documents: The Zimmermann Telegram (1917)
A key factor in the US decision to enter the First World War in 1917 was this document. This site presents both the coded and decoded versions of the telegram from German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann to the German Minister to Mexico, von Eckhardt, offering United States territory to Mexico in return for joining the German cause.
Woodrow Wilson, War Message to Congress (2/4/1917)
Woodrow Wilson, War Message to Congress (2/4/1917)
Having tried to keep the United States out of the war, in 1917, Wilson asked Congress to take the nation into it. How did Wilson frame his request? How does the speech reflect either the Progressive spirit or a belief in Manifest Destiny?
Woodrow Wilson Fourteen Points (January 8th 1918)
Woodrow Wilson Fourteen Points (January 8th 1918)
Edited highlights of Wilson's plan for a post-war world.
Warren G. Harding, "Return to Normalcy,"  (May 14th, 1920)
Warren G. Harding, "Return to Normalcy," (May 14th, 1920)
Key speech repudiating the activist progressive foreign policies of the early 1900s. Is this a a call to 'isolationism' or something else?
Herbert Hoover, Remarks On the Kellog-Briand Pact (July 24th, 1929)
Herbert Hoover, Remarks On the Kellog-Briand Pact (July 24th, 1929)
Not the most stirring of speeches. Still what does this speech - and the pact - tell us about the nature of US froeign policy during the years of 'isolation'?
America on the Sidelines: The USA & World Affairs 1931-41
America on the Sidelines: The USA & World Affairs 1931-41
An interactive website that asks you to guess the correct/actual course of American foreign policy in the pre-war decade. Has options for both Europe and the Pacific to help students understand exactly how foreign policymakers reached decisions during this period and the presures they faced.
FDR, Four Freedoms Speech (January 6th, 1941)
FDR, Four Freedoms Speech (January 6th, 1941)
With the USA still neutral, but war raging across Europe & Asia, FDR critiqued the neutrality faction in Congress. How did FDR explain the relationship between and active foreign policy and America's domestic security?
FDR Library: FDR & Pearl Harbor - Key Documents
FDR Library: FDR & Pearl Harbor - Key Documents
This 17-page pdf contains key documents from the Roosevelt Administration exploring exactly what was known prior to the attack.
FDR, Request for a Declaration of War (December 8th, 1941)
FDR, Request for a Declaration of War (December 8th, 1941)
Text and audio of the 'date that will live in infamy speech' in which the President asked Congress to declare war.