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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Early American Foreign Policy, 1776-1823 (PGHC11291)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course considers the history of US foreign policy during the republic's infancy. Beginning with the American struggle for legitimacy during the American Revolution, it traces the development of American foreign policy during the Napoleonic Wars culminating in the Monroe Doctrine. The main problem that confronted American policy-makers during this period was how to preserve and protect a weak republic in a world of aggressive, hostile empires.
Course description Among its other features, the American Declaration of Independence (1776) was a diplomatic document. It announced to the world that a new nation had taken its place on the world stage and sought to win recognition in international law for the United States. This recognition and acceptance could not be taken for granted. The United States, as an independent republic, challenged the established order in the Atlantic state system, a system dominated by imperial powers which were often hostile toward colonial independence movements and republics, both of which challenged the legitimacy of the established order. Between 1776 and the promulgation of the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 the new United States sought to pursue of foreign policy which upheld its position within international law while also seeking to transform international relations. It did so from a position of profound weakness. This course traces the course of American foreign policy during this period. It considers US relations with Britain and France, the main preoccupation for American policy makers but also relations with "lesser" powers such as the Barbary States. It also considers American relations with people who were considered beyond the reach of international law during the period - Native Americans and rebellious slaves in Haiti - each of whom challenged the American notion that the republic stood for a different kind of international order.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate , both orally and in writing, in a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the early foreign policy of the United States
  2. Demonstrate in, both orally and in writing, an ability to analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning early American foreign policy, primary source materials concerning American diplomatic relations with France, Britain, other European powers, the Barbary States, Haiti and Native Americans
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in seminar discussions, and presentations by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate in seminar discussions originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
American State Papers: Foreign Relations, 1789-1828, 6 vols. (1833)

Francis D. Cogliano, Emperor of Liberty: Thomas Jefferson's Foreign Policy (2014)

George C. Herring, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776 (2008)

Lawrence S. Kaplan, Entangling Alliances with None: American Foreign Policy in the Age of Jefferson (1987)

Richard Kluger, Seizing Destiny: How America Grew from Sea to Shining Sea (2007)

Walter Nugent, Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion (2008)

Bradford Perkins, Prologue to War: England and the United States, 1805-1812 (1961)

Jay Sexton, The Monroe Doctrine (2011)

Robert W. Tucker and David C. Hendrickson, Empire of Liberty: The Statecraft of Thomas Jefferson (1990)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordsearly american foreign policy
Course organiserProf Frank Cogliano
Tel: (0131 6)50 3774
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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