U.S. Presidents and Foreign Policy

From 1789 to the Present

by Carl C. Hodge and Cathal J. Nolan, Editors


Of all the constitutional powers granted to the president, the power to craft foreign policy is the most awesome. It also presents the greatest opportunity for glory, vainglory, and folly. Each president has taken office with plans, preconceptions, and prejudices. This encyclopedia details the foreign policy of each of them.

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December 2006


Pages 474
Volumes 1
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Politics, Law, and Government/Presidential Studies
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This work is a unique single source for information on the foreign policy—wars, treaties, initiatives, and doctrines—of all 43 presidents of the United States.

From George Washington's isolationism to the Monroe Doctrine of hemispheric right to domination to Teddy Roosevelt's imperialism through George W. Bush's global war against terror, U.S. foreign policy has charted a varied course. As the area where the president has the most freedom of action, foreign policy can, and often does, change precipitously, according to the incumbent's view of the world. No other branch of government rivals the president's role in America's rise from liberal republic to global superpower.

This work brings together the scholarship of leading historians and political scientists to present in-depth examination of the foreign policy of each president of the United States. This thorough presentation covers all aspects of international relations; although the work is not primarily interpretive, it does not shy from pointing out both notable successes and failures. The book's 43 essays present quick access to the whole of the history of American foreign policy.


  • 42 essays—one per president—from leading historians and political scientists
  • Primary source documents such as Abraham Lincoln's first inaugural address, John L. O'Sullivan on manifest destiny, and James K. Polk's war message
  • A detailed chronology provides a convenient overview of the whole history of American foreign policy
  • A bibliography following each section gives access to additional resources for more extensive research


  • Highlights the power of individual presidents to change the course of history through foreign-policy initiatives
  • The only history of foreign policy arranged around separate essays for each president's administration
  • Balanced judgments: fact-based, but acknowledges the strengths and weaknesses as well as the successes and failures of each president
  • Rigorous scholarship provides the highest reliability; clear and accessible writing makes information available to a wide range of readers
Author Info

Carl Hodge, PhD, is associate professor of political science and director of international relations at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan in Kelowna, British Columbia. His published works include All of the People, All of the Time: American Government at the End of the Century and North American Politics.

Cathal Nolan, PhD, is associate professor of history at Boston University, Boston, MA, where he also serves as executive director of the International History Institute. His published works include Principled Diplomacy: Security and Rights in U.S. Foreign Policy and Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations, which was named an Outstanding Academic Work of 2002 by Choice magazine and was Library Journal's Editor's Choice in 2002. Dr. Nolan was recipient of the first Batshaw Fellowship in Human Rights awarded by the Canadian Human Rights Foundation.



"Collections that have a focus in American history and policy will want to strongly consider this volume."Booklist

"It is recommended for public and college libraries."Reference & User Services Quarterly

"It should be of particular interest to most students and particularly those from history and political areas as well as journalistic and legislative personnel."ARBA

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Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Presidential Use of Force, 1789-2000 cover imageEncyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years cover imageU.S. Presidents as Orators cover image

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