How Has the Pandemic Reshaped U.S. Foreign Relations Histories?

Anne L. Foster (Indiana State University) and Petra Goedde (Temple University)
Editors, Diplomatic History

Covid-19 has laid bare the tension between globalism and nationalism, the promise and limits of modern medicine, the persistence of inequality, legacies of imperialism and racism.  We have witnessed human beings adapt with remarkable resilience, but also the toll the took on families and individuals beyond the threat of death and disease: isolation, job loss, financial insecurity, uncertainty.

As university teachers and mothers, we scrambled in the spring of 2020 to adjust our living and teaching.  As foreign relations scholars and journal editors we were thinking about what all this meant for our work.  And so we invited a group of scholars to reflect on this question: What has living through this pandemic revealed or changed about your conception of your scholarship? 

We are happy to announce that the twenty-three short essays they wrote have just been published in the June 2021 issue of Diplomatic History, all of which are currently free to read and download online.

Continue reading “How Has the Pandemic Reshaped U.S. Foreign Relations Histories?”

Re-thinking “Open-Door Imperialism”

Nicole M. Phelps
University of Vermont

Review of Marc-William Palen. The “Conspiracy” of Free Trade: The Anglo-American Struggle over Empire and Economic Globalisation, 1846-1896. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 331 pp. $99.99 (hardcover).

[For full review and citation, see: Nicole M. Phelps, “Re-thinking ‘Open-Door Imperialism,'” Diplomatic History 41 (Jan. 2017): 211-214.]

conspiracy of free trade coverStill basing your Gilded Age foreign policy lecture—perhaps reduced now to just a PowerPoint slide—on the quest for markets a la William Appleman Williams’s The Tragedy of American Diplomacy and Walter LaFeber’s The New Empire?1 Marc-William Palen convincingly argues that it is time for a change. According to Palen, lumping all the Gilded Age administrations from Grant to McKinley into proponents of an undifferentiated “Open Door imperialism” misses essential differences between the Democratic Grover Cleveland administrations and those of the Republicans and, more importantly, falsely paints free traders as imperialists and obscures the protectionist, closed door bent of the actual imperialists. By focusing our attention on the debate over tariffs waged by Cobdenite free traders and Listian economic nationalists—protectionists—from the early days of the Republican Party through McKinley’s election in 1896, Palen offers important contributions to our understanding of imperialism, the development of American political parties, and Anglo-American relations. In so doing, he smooths out the story of nineteenth-century U.S. foreign policy, which often skips abruptly from the end of the Civil War to the start of the Spanish-American War. Continue reading “Re-thinking “Open-Door Imperialism””

17 OUP-Recommended US Foreign Relations Histories That You Need to Read

Marc-William Palen
History Department, University of Exeter
Follow on Twitter @MWPalen

Cover_For_BlogThe OUPblog has just posted a great reading list  for scholars of the history of US foreign relations, in advance of the annual meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR). The list, some of which are below, includes blog posts, cutting-edge books, and the top five most-read Diplomatic History articles of 2015 (spoiler: one of them is mine). More than a few of the items on the list have an explicitly imperial history angle, including fresh-off-the-press books like Benjamin Coates’s Legalist Empire: International Law and American Foreign Relations in the Early Twentieth Century and Amanda Moniz’s From Empire to Humanity: The American Revolution and the Origins of Humanitarianism.  Have a look! Continue reading “17 OUP-Recommended US Foreign Relations Histories That You Need to Read”