History 461

Studies in U.S. Diplomatic History

Fall 1998

TUCC—Monday, 5:10-7:40

Richard H. Immerman

Gladfelter 919



For more than a decade the field of U.S. Diplomatic History, or what its practitioners prefer to call the History of U.S. Foreign Relations, has undergone intense introspection and self- criticism. The objective has been to reinvigorate the discipline by reducing the "sterility" associated with the Rankean tradition. Without claiming this goal has been achieved, progress toward it is manifestly apparent. Exploiting archives in many different lands and languages, contemporary scholars are asking new questions and applying interdisciplinary methodologies and novel conceptual frameworks to their investigations. 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. The end of the cold war and fluidity of today's international environment has provided further impetus to this phenomenon.

The intention of this course, accordingly, is to broaden your familiarity with the historiography as well as the history of U.S. foreign relations. To begin this process you will all become intimately acquainted with the essays in Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations (and the additional Hunt, Leffler, and Rosenberg articles I distributed). Collectively, they represent neither a manual nor recipe book. They should, however, stimulate your own thinking 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 14 -- meeting. You should evaluate what you consider the pros and cons of the author's diagnoses and prescriptions, and if possible, suggest what (if any) subject areas you believe might lend themselves to the type of approach s/he recommends.

The subsequent session, on September 21, will launch our tour of the history of U.S. foreign policy. Please note the tour's chronological parameters. This semester's focus is on the pre-cold war years. With that in mind, commencing with this class and extending to the semester's end, two or three of you (depending on class size) will read, in addition to the book assigned to everyone, another one listed on the syllabus. In other words, for that week the "chosen" few will read two books. S/he will in 750 words review critically (cf. the hand-out on writing a book review) the selection (comparing it, when appropriate, to the one we all read 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 (a not uncommon occurance at Temple) and I not own a copy, to provide you with a substitute title.

These reviews will be the basis for an approximately fifteen minute oral presentation in which each presenter will have the opportunity to supplement his/her review by providing illustrations from the book as well as to clarify or expand upon criticisms and arguments. The hand-out on writing a book review is a general guide--nothing more. Feel free to follow your own instincts, as long as you don't end up writing a book report. The only other proscriptions are misspellings, mistakes in grammar, and use of the passive voice. Copies of this and all future reviews should be made for each class member. I have arranged to open a file at the circulation desk in the TUCC library, where copies of the review should be deposited at least one hour (eg. by 4:10) before our class meets.

This distribution and deadline is particularly critical for the week's designated "commentators." What this means is that, similar to the convention at scholarly meetings, commentators will take about 10 minutes to analyze critically the review, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses (of both the review and the book) and posing questions about the subject matter, arguments, sources, methodology, etc. Commentators will decide among themselves which book each will critique. Because s/he probably has not read the works under review, I will, if and when necessary, inject points of information and clarification.

Further information and clarification will be provided during the "audience participation" portion of the "panel" that will follow the presentations. The "audience" (class) will be well informed because you all will have read the generally assigned book and written a one-page review of it (those reviewing the week's supplementary books must read but need not write a review of the generally assigned one). I will grade all reviews "excellent," "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" ("check +", "check", or "check -"). Needless to say, failure to submit reviews on time will adversely affect the quality of the commentaries and general discussion; thus I will not take kindly to such behavior.

The final assignment will be a comparative review of four books (excluding those already reviewed in class). It should run eight to twelve double-spaced pages. The selections should, of course, be related to one another in some manner, and 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 books that you consider potentially appropriate for your comparative review, using the library, on-line data bases, bibliographies, historiographic essays, footnotes from related works, or any other means--just as you would if I asked you to prepare a research paper. I will evaluate your list after you have compiled it and together we will pare it down to four books. For this reason let's agree that you will bounce your proposals off me. Because the papers will be due (and I mean it) on Friday, December 11 (your paper will constitute your admission ticket for a celebration at my house), you should make an appointment with me, either at TUCC or the Main Campus, no later than November 13. When we meet we can also discuss your performance and progress.

On a more mundane level, as a normative guideline I will base your course grade on an even division between your written and oral work. I may reward exceptional performance in one area by giving it extra weight in my calculations, but don't count on it. Hence never rest on your laurels. And FYI, I am a fanatic when it comes to class participation. 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. Under any circumstances, feel free to check with me whenever the spirit moves you.

Required Reading (available at the TUCC Bookstore)

Hogan, Michael & Thomas Paterson, Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations

Perkins, Bradford, Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations: Creation of an American Empire

Horsman, Reginald, Race and Manifest Destiny

Stephanson, Anders, Manifest Destiny

Beisner, Robert, From the Old Diplomacy to the New

Hunt, Michael, The Making of a Special Relationship

Perez, Louis, Cuba and the United States

Levin, N. Gordon, Woodrow Wilson and World Politics

Cohen, Warren, Empire Without Tears

Dallek, Robert, Franklin D. Roosevelt

Iriye, Akira, Power and Culture

Walker, J. Samuel, Prompt and Utter Destruction

Schedule of Sessions

August 31 Introduction

September 7 Labor Day—NO CLASS

September 14

Class Reading: Hogan and Paterson and distributed essays: Hunt, Leffler, and Rosenberg

Reviews: Individual essays

Commentaries: Everyone

September 21

Class Reading: Perkins

Reviews: Dull, Jonathan, Dip. Hist. of American Revolution

Gilbert, Felix, To the Farewell Address

Marks, Frederick, Independence on Trial


September 28

Class Reading: Horsman

Reviews: Combs, Jerald, The Jay Treaty

Kaplan, Lawrence, Entangling Alliances with None

Tucker Robert W., and David C. Hendrickson, Empire of Liberty: The Statecraft of Thomas Jefferson


October 5

Class Reading: Distributed Weeks/Brauer/Crapol articles (No reviews)

Reviews: Russell, John, John Quincy Adams

Stagg, J.C., Mr. Madison's War

Weeks, William, John Quincy Adams


October 12

Class Reading: Stephanson

Reviews: Belohlavek, John, Let the Eagle Soar

Graebner, Norman, Empire on the Pacific

Hietala, Thomas, Manifest Design


October 19

Class Reading: Beisner

Reviews: Hagan, Kenneth, Gunboat Diplomacy

LaFeber, Walter, The New Empire

May, Ernest, Imperial Democracy


October 26

Class Reading: Hunt

Reviews: Bederman, Gail, Manliness and Civilization

Challener, Richard, Admirals, Generals, . . .

Rosenberg, Emily, Spreading the American Dream


November 2

Class Reading: Perez

Reviews: Calder, Bruce, The Impact of Intervention

Katz, Friederich, Secret War in Mexico

Schoonover, Thomas, United States and Central America


November 9

Class Reading: Levin

Reviews: Ambrosius, Lloyd, Wilson and Diplomatic Tradition

Knock, Thomas, To End All Wars

Widenor, William, Henry Cabot Lodge


November 16

Class Reading: Cohen

Reviews: Costigliola, Frank, Awkward Dominion

Dingman, Roger, Power in the Pacific

Hogan, Michael, Informal Entente


November 23

Class Reading: Dallek

Reviews: Farnham, Barbara, Roosevelt and Munich

Heinrichs, Waldo, Threshold of War

Thorne, Christopher, Limits of Foreign Policy


November 30

Class Reading: Iriye

Reviews: Dower, John, War Without Mercy

Kolko, Gabriel, Politics of War

Kimball, Warren, Forged in War


December 7

Class Reading: Walker

Reviews: Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb

Maddox, Robert, Weapons for Victory

Sherwin, Martin, A World Destroyed