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Foreign Policy
Guide: Foreign Policy

This collection offers a window into the basics of foreign policy by charting key developments in U.S. foreign policy over the 19th and early 20th centuries. Primary and secondary sources highlight various foreign policy approaches, from isolationism to expansion. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Theme Key Understandings

  • Governments' approaches to regulation change over time based on domestic and global circumstances
  • American domestic policies span a spectrum from a free-market approach to a highly regulatory approach
  • A citizen's opinion on the need for regulation generally depends on his or her role in society
  • Social and economic policies form the basis of domestic policy
  • Through social policy, government officials can provide programs and services to maintain and improve citizen welfare
  • Through economic policy, the government seeks to maintain stability for the national economy
  • Foreign policies are influenced by the accepted doctrine of a time period, which is often shaped in reaction to world events
  • The executive branch plays the leading role in directing foreign policy

Key Questions

  • How have historical events influenced the move from a primarily isolationist American foreign policy in the 19th century to a more moralist foreign policy in the 20th century?
  • How do you think the United States should prioritize international issues?


  1. Overview: Foreign Policy
  2. Outlines: Outline
  3. Transcripts: Transcript
  4. Lesson: Introduction
  5. Lesson: 1-Foreign Policy in the 19th Century
  6. Lesson: 2-Foreign Policy before World War II
  7. Lesson: 3-Cold War–Era Foreign Policy
  8. Lesson: 4-Post–Cold War Foreign Policy
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Photos & Illustrations: Gast, John: American Progress
  11. Reference Articles: Neutrality Policy, U.S. (1793–1917)
  12. Reference Articles: Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine
  13. Reference Articles: Manifest Destiny
  14. Reference Articles: Monroe Doctrine
  15. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Political cartoon: Monroe Doctrine (1896)
  16. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Political cartoon: satire of Theodore Roosevelt's foreign policy (ca. 1900)
  17. Political, Government & Court Documents: Proclamation of Neutrality (1793)
  18. Speeches: Roosevelt, Theodore: Monroe Doctrine Corollary speech (1904)

MLA Citation

"Foreign Policy." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2156150?cid=256. Accessed 6 Dec. 2019.

Entry ID: 2156150

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