The National Security Doctrines of the American Presidency

How They Shape Our Present and Future

by Lamont Colucci


From the often-forgotten Washington Doctrine, to the Truman Doctrine that continues to influence our modern national security, to the Obama Doctrine that is still solidifying, American foreign and national security policy is shaped by the historical development of national security doctrines. In the post 9/11 world, with its continuing unrest and instability in the Middle East, these issues are of paramount importance.

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Cover image for The National Security Doctrines of the American Presidency

August 2012


Pages 805
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Security Studies/U.S. Foreign Policy

This two-volume set provides a chronological view of the foreign policy/national security doctrines of key American presidents from Washington to Obama, framed by commentary on the historical context for each, discussions of major themes, and examinations of the lasting impact of these policies.

The National Security Doctrines of the American Presidency: How They Shape our Present and Future provides a chronological examination of the foreign policy and national security doctrines of key American presidents from Washington to Obama, covering everything from our missionary zeal and our pursuit of open navigation of the seas, to our involvement in the ongoing political and military conflicts in the Middle East. It addresses the multiple sources behind the doctrines: real, rhetorical, and ideological. Arranged chronologically, each chapter offers commentary on the historical evolution of these doctrines, identifies the major themes, and highlights unique revelations.

Ideal for universities, colleges, libraries, academics, classroom teachers, policy makers, and the educated electorate, this two-volume set represents a compendium of national security doctrines that explains how these first doctrines have constrained, restrained, and guided every American president regardless of party, providing comprehensive information that cannot be found in any other single source. Further, the work presents the reader with examples and explanations of precisely how these doctrines from long ago as well as those from recent history directly affect our present and future.


  • Presents carefully researched explanations of each doctrine, including those that are often overlooked in other books, such as those of Washington, Lincoln, Monroe, Polk, and both Roosevelts
  • Fully details the modern presidents such Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Bush
  • Discusses in depth the ways in which historical doctrines shape the national security issues of today and the future
  • Emphasizes the continuity of national security themes and concepts across time
  • Includes original source documents
  • Provides maps of doctrine areas and conflict zones as well as graphic interpretations
Series Description

Praeger Security International

As the world gets "smaller" through technology and globalization, the security risks we face grow and multiply.

International security in the 21st century is not a topic that can be adequately addressed in nightly news soundbites or online articles intended to be relevant for 24 hours or less. Comprehending these complex issues requires insight from foreign policy specialists, diplomats, military officials, peace scholars, historians, and security experts—participants and observers on all sides of each conflict. This series provides the tools for understanding security issues in our uncertain, unstable world.

Written by subject experts and well-known researchers, the books in the Praeger Security International series give readers access to carefully considered and highly informed viewpoints on the critical security issues that threaten to destabilize our world. With titles authored by diplomats, first responders, economists, journalists, civil servants, military leaders and combatants, legal experts, psychologists, and other knowledgeable specialists, these books offer in-depth reflections, thorough analysis, and international perspectives that are unavailable in mass media. These titles represent an invaluable resource for students and researchers as well as anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of the complex issues that affect our lives and future.


  • Provides reliable, comprehensive information on all matters relating to security that is ideal for students, teachers, researchers, and professionals
  • Offers insightful commentaries written by a diverse group of scholars and experts who provide interdisciplinary treatments of newsworthy events and important historical occurrences
Author Info

Lamont Colucci, PhD, is associate professor of politics and government at Ripon College, Ripon, WI, and senior fellow in National Security Affairs for the American Foreign Policy Council. A Fulbright Scholar with experience as a diplomat with the U.S. Dept. of State, Colucci's primary areas of expertise are United States national security and United States foreign policy. His published works include Crusading Realism: The Bush Doctrine and American Core Values After 9/11 and contributions to The Impact of 9/11 on Politics and War: The Day that Changed Everything? Colucci earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds a doctorate in politics from the University of London, England. He received Ripon's Severy Excellence in Teaching award in 2007 and the Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. Colucci is a weekly columnist for U.S. News & World Report and an occasional columnist for The Washington Times. His website is



"The information offered in this single source stands out, not only for its comprehensiveness and brevity, but for 'its examples and explanations.' "Choice


"Lamont Colucci has given us a superb and vivid historical roadmap and framework for future understanding of how and why Presidents succeed and fail in implementing nine major, and really timeless, themes of national security. For example, one of Colucci's stars, Harry Truman, did not start with micromanaging tactics and reading opinion polls and then work backwards toward strategy and national security policy."—R. James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence Agency; Chairman, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

"With the publication of this comprehensive work, Professor Lamont Colucci has performed a valuable service in compiling and analyzing the major doctrines that have shaped our history and defined our national interests. This compendium will be of great value to scholars, statesmen and practitioners, and should be a standard reference work for journalists and writers."—Richard V. Allen, Former National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, Senior Fellow at The Hoover Institution in War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University

"Colucci writes with a broad historical sweep from Washington to Obama to explore the doctrinal foundations of the foreign policies of the United States. He argues persuasively that such doctrines best flow from a cohesive view of grand strategy and a clear-eyed conception of the national interest. This impressively wide ranging and penetrating analysis makes a major contribution to our understanding of foreign policy as it has been pursued in good times and in bad."—Professor Ken Young, Head of Department of Political Economy, King's College, London

"An ambitious survey attuned to what makes American national security policy—and America—distinctive. Impressive in its sweep, invigorating in its analysis."—Rich Lowry, Editor of National Review

Look Inside

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