Marc Jay Selverstone

Since virtually the earliest days of its existence, the United States has seen fit to announce in grandiose fashion its intentions and purposes to the world at large. The Declaration of Independence, for instance, the grandest statement of all, took aim at a foreign audience more than a domestic one. Subsequent declarations, often imbued with a millennial vision and a sense of exceptionalism, continued to broadcast the nation's principles far and wide. The emergence of the United States as a global power endowed those statements with increasing authority, for Americans as well as for those abroad. In time they came to take on the status of "doctrine," establishing the precepts of U.S. foreign policy.

For the most part, these doctrines sought to address immediate crises. Each involved diplomatic statements of intent; several of them spelled out specific actions in support of those intentions. For the most part, they sought to ground themselves in the traditions and lore of the American past. In an effort to establish that continuity, presidents have frequently referred to previous statements of policy, offering their own approaches as contemporary applications of enduring principles. Most of these declarations have carried weighty ideological content, venerating "free peoples" and the virtues of liberty. Yet they have been equally grounded in the language of national security, promoting the survival and safety of the American way. As a whole, they offer a thumbnail sketch of the history of American diplomacy.


Ammon, T. Harry. "The Monroe Doctrine: Domestic Politics or National Decision." Diplomatic History 5, no. 1 (winter 1981): 53–70. This and the response from Ernest R. May in the same issue provide a snapshot of the debate surrounding the circumstances of the doctrine's enunciation.

Arnson, Cynthia J. Crossroads: Congress, the Reagan Administration, and Central America. New York, 1989.

Berman, Larry, ed. Looking Back on the Reagan Presidency. Baltimore, 1990.

Combs, Jerold A. "The Origins of the Monroe Doctrine: A Survey of Interpretations by United States Historians." Australian Journal of Politics and History 27, no. 2 (1981).

Crabb, Cecil V., Jr. The Doctrines of American Foreign Policy: Their Meaning, Role, and Future. Baton Rouge, La., 1982. The best monograph available on the origins, implications, and legacies of America's foreign policy doctrines, from the Monroe through Carter.

Daalder, Ivo. "And Now, a Clinton Doctrine?" Haagsche Courant (10 July 1999).

DeMuth, Christopher C., et al. The Reagan Doctrine and Beyond. Washington, D.C., 1988.

Ferrell, Robert. American Diplomacy in the Great Depression: Hoover-Stimson Foreign Policy, 1929–1933. New Haven, Conn., 1957.

Fischer, Beth A. The Reagan Reversal: Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War. Columbia, Mo., 1997.

Freeland, Richard M. The Truman Doctrine and the Origins of McCarthyism: Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics, and Internal Security, 1946–1948. New York, 1972. Links the Truman speech with a corresponding loyalty-security program for containing communism at home.

Gaddis, John Lewis. "Reconsiderations: Was the Truman Doctrine a Real Turning Point?" Foreign Affairs 52, no. 2 (1974): 386–402.

Gardner, Lloyd C. Architects of Illusion: Men and Ideas in American Foreign Policy, 1941–1949. Chicago, 1970. Includes a chapter on Dean Acheson's role in formulating the Truman Doctrine.

Garthoff, Raymond L. Détente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan. Washington, D.C., 1985.

——. "Détente and Deterrence in the Cold War." Diplomatic History 22, no. 1 (winter 1998): 145–148. On the Nixon Doctrine.

Gendzier, Irene. Notes from the Minefield: United States Intervention in Lebanon and the Middle East, 1945–1958. New York, 1997. Covers the Eisenhower Doctrine.

Hyland, William G., ed. The Reagan Foreign Policy. New York, 1987.

Ivie, Robert L. "Fire, Flood, and Red Fever: Motivating Metaphors of Global Emergency in the Truman Doctrine Speech." Presidential Studies Quarterly 29, no. 3 (1999): 570–591.

Johnson, Robert H. "Misguided Morality: Ethics and the Reagan Doctrine." Political Science Quarterly 103, no. 3 (autumn 1988): 509–529.

Jones, Joseph M. The Fifteen Weeks (February 21–June 5, 1947). New York, 1955. Offers the perspective of a State Department official and speechwriter who authored the 12 March address; a classic account of the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan.

Kaplan, Lawrence S. "NATO and the Nixon Doctrine: Ten Years Later." Orbis 24, no. 1(1980): 149–164.

——. "The Monroe Doctrine and the Truman Doctrine: The Case of Greece." Journal of the Early Republic 13, no. 1 (1993):1–21.

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Kuniholm, Bruce. "The Carter Doctrine, the Reagan Corollary, and Prospects for United States Policy in Southwest Asia." International Journal (Toronto) 41, no. 2 (1986): 342–361.

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Little, Douglas. "His Finest Hour?: Eisenhower, Lebanon, and the 1958 Middle East Crisis." Diplomatic History 20 (winter 1996): 27–54.

Litwak, Robert S. Détente and the Nixon Doctrine: American Foreign Policy and the Pursuit of Stability, 1969–1976. New York, 1984.

Manning, Robert, and Patrick Clawson. "The Clinton Doctrine." Wall Street Journal (29 December 1997).

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McFaul, Michael. "Rethinking the Reagan Doctrine in Angola." International Security 14, no. 3 (winter 1989–1990): 99–135.

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Perkins, Dexter. A History of the Monroe Doctrine. Rev. ed. Boston, 1955. The classic, and still the most persuasive, account of the doctrine.

Rabe, Steven. "The Johnson (Eisenhower) Doctrine for Latin America." Diplomatic History 9, no. 1 (1985).

Schmertz, Eric J., et. al., eds. President Reagan and the World. Westport, Conn., 1997.

Schweizer, Peter, ed. The Fall of the Berlin Wall : Reassessing the Causes and Consequences of the End of the Cold War. Stanford, Calif., 2000.

Smith, Gaddis. Morality, Reason, and Power: American Diplomacy in the Carter Years. New York, 1986.

——. The Last Years of the Monroe Doctrine, 1945–1993. New York, 1994.

Takeyh, Ray. The Origins of the Eisenhower Doctrine: The U.S., Britain, and Nasser's Egypt, 1953–57. New York, 2000.

Teicher, Howard, and Gayle Radley Teicher. Twin Pillars to Desert Storm: America's Flawed Vision in the Middle East from Nixon to Bush. New York, 1993.

Telhami, Shibley. "Raise Stakes via a Clinton Doctrine." Los Angeles Times (3 November 1999).

Tucker, Robert W., ed. Intervention and the Reagan Doctrine. New York, 1985.

Wittner, Lawrence S. "The Truman Doctrine and the Defense of Freedom." Diplomatic History 4, no. 2 (spring 1980): 161–187.

Xydis, Stephen G. Greece and the Great Powers, 1944–1947: Prelude to the Truman Doctrine. Thessalonika, Greece, 1963. Provides solid background on the situation in Greece.

Zakaria, Fareed. "The Reagan Strategy of Containment." Political Science Quarterly 105, no. 3 (autumn 1990): 373–395.

See also Colonialism and Neocolonialism ; Containment ; Continental Expansion ; Intervention and Nonintervention ; Isolationism ; The Munich Analogy ; The National Interest ; Recognition .

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