• Course Outline
• Approaching the Study
o Key Course Themes:
• Is the US an empire?
• Does empire exist?
• What kinds of power?
• Power to achieve what goals?
• Is power constant or does it change?
• What’s the balance between goals and means?
• How do you use power to get what you want in the international system?
Order and Disorder
• What is meant by orderly international system?
• What does a disorderly one mean?
• Who decides if a system is orderly or disorderly?
• How unique is the US?
• Is it a great power?
o Or is it something slightly different?
• Do American’s think they are indispensable?
o Ideas Matter in Foreign Relations
“Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered;
they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make” –Henry Kissinger
• Joint Chiefs of Staff
• Public Intellectuals
• From Colony to Nation
o The City Upon a Hill, 1630
Grand social experiment
• Favored by god
• If they were to fail they will have failed god
• Sought to be an example for the world o 13 Colonies (1700s)
There are still no Americans, still subjects of the British crown
• Relationship it becoming strained
• GB and FR have tensions, and GB is trying to get US involved
• 1776, rumblings of succession from GB
o This would be considered high treason to leave the empire
o Thomas Paine, Common Sense
Silly for a continent to be ruled by GB
• Empire of liberty
o Thomas Jefferson
o “An Empire of Liberty”
Need of space
Need for territorial expansion
Idea that other people will want this liberty too, other people will want to be
Key to peace and prosperity is seeking out markets, free trade, spreading of
republican ideas, but the only way this will work is if the colonies can spread out
o End of revolution 1783, Treaty of Paris
o No on expected the colonies to be able to over throw the most powerful empire in the
A new order from the ages
From Nation to Continent?
• Territorial expansion 16071867
o Westward expansion/ Indian wars
Want to take over “empty land”
Americans thought they had the right to take over Native land because they were
going to “use it”
• Fight, negotiate or buying of the territory
o Louisiana purchase
Doubles the land mass of the US
Adds 100,000 people to the population
o War of 1812
Era of good feelings
Nation is growing
More expansion would be necessary
Seeking to eradicate GB influence in the continent
Rise of American nationalism and symbolism
o Transcontinental Treaty 1819
US gains Florida from Spain US now goes all the way to the pacific
o MexicanAmerican Wars (1846)
California, New Mexico, California, etc.
US now spans the entire continent
o Alaska Purchase (1867)
Bought Alaska from Russia
Most people thought this was ridiculous
US got many natural resources from this purchase
• Expansion was a series of acts of foreign relations
• American should reach their natural boarders
• Americans were looking toward the future
• Manifest destiny is very active