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American Foreign Policy





Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History

  • Topics cover events, issues, and people in U.S. military and diplomatic history
  • Table of contents includes cross references
  • Each article is followed by a list of related articles to consult and a brief annotated bibliography of books
  • See entry - United States Foreign Relations - for relations with: Africa, Asia, Australasia, Caribbean, Central & South America, China, Europe, India, Iran, Middle East, and Russia


Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations
. 4v. 1997

  • Includes articles on the history of relations between the U.S. and other countries and significant events regarding American foreign policy. Accompanying bibliographies provide suggestions for further reading.

Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy. 3v. 2001

  • Google Books provides a preview of this book
  • Includes topics such as Arms Control and Disarmament, Cold War, Congressional Power, Embargos and Sanctions, Globalization, Immigration, International Law, Narcotics Policy, Oil, Post-Cold War Policy, Propaganda, Realism and Idealism, and Vietnam War and Its Impact.

Shelved in the 5th floor stacks


The United States in World Affairs [Council on Foreign Relations] 1931- 1966

  • These volumes provide a descriptive analysis of important year's events that contributed to the development of American foreign policy
  • Many volumes include an accompanying selected bibliography of primary and secondary sources to supplement topics covered and a chronology of world events by region
  • Selected primary sources for these events are highlighted in The Council's Documents on American Foreign Relations and American Foreign Relations: a Documentary Record [See below under U.S. Governement Resources.]

The State of the American Empire: How the USA Shapes the World. 2007

  • Depiction in maps of how the US effects the world through military involvement, economically, and culturally
  • Covers energy, trade, capital, people, military, security, aid, and involvement in international organizations & institutions


Shelved in the 5th floor stacks

  American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy. 20 vols. 1963 -
  • This series begins with Robert R. Livingston, who served as Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Continental Congress from 1781 - 1783, to Cyrus Vance, who served as Secretary of State from 1977 - 1980 under President Jimmy Carter.
  • Each volume is enhanced by notes that reference primary sources and a topical index.

U.S. Presidents and Foreign Policy From 1789 to the Present . 2007.

  • Google Books provides a preview of this book
  • Overview articles tracing each president's role in foreign policy from their early life and political (or military) career and concluding with their legacy.
  • Each article is accompanied by a chronology, which will assist in identifying primary sources, as well as a brief list of secondary sources.
  • Accompanied by a small collection of primary sources, a Chronology of the Foreign Relations of the United States, and an index.



Historical Encyclopedia of U.S. Presidential Use of Force, 1789 - 2000. 2001

  • Major topics covered include the Constitution , Congress, ethics, the media, public opinion, democratic peace, Yugoslavia, and multilateralism.
  • "Regional essays on the use of force short of war focus on Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, the Middle East/North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa." - from the book introduction
  • Also available in print in the Reference collection: Ref E176.1 H56

American Foreign Relations Since 1600: A Guide to the Literature. 2nd ed. 2 vols. 2003

  • Google Books provides a preview of this book
  • Annotated list of resources published by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.
  • Includes U.S. document collections, personal papers, bibliographies, historiography and biographies for a time period as well as overviews of relations between the U.S. and other countries and regions.
  • References include books and some journal articles.
  • To determine if any of the items that you find are available in the Cook Library or another USM library, check the Towson and/or USMAI Catalog or for journal availability from the Cook Library home page under FIND ARTICLES, click on By Journal Title.

To top

    World Wars

American Foreign Relations since 1600: A Guide to the Literature
. 2v. 2003

  • Excellent place to start your research on the effect of the war on U.S. foreign policy
  • Provides a list of resource materials including books and journal articles arranged by topic
  • Chapter 14: United States, World War I, and the Peace Settlement, 1914-1920
    • Sections on Wilsonian foreign policy, economic policy, American neutrality, American belligerency, relations with Russia, the Paris Peace Conference, reparations issues and the formation of the League of Nations.
  • Chapter 18: United States and Wartime Diplomacy, 1941-1945
    • Sections on defense, intelligence, interaction of Allies, relations with other countries, major wartime and postwar issues, decolonization, atomic bomb and nuclear weapons

Researching World War I: A Handbook. 2003

See Chapter 11: United States for a background article and bibliography that focuses on the United State's involvement in World War I


Oxford Companion to World War II
. 1995

See the chapter on the USA for a backgrounder on the United States' involvement in World War II.

    Cold War

Chronology of the Cold War: 1917 - 1992
. 2006

  • Entries arranged chronologically with an explanation of the event with cross references to related dates.
  • Alphabetical index listing names, events, and topics.
  • Extensive bibliography arranged by time period and subtopics within each time period.

Encyclopedia of the Cold War: A Political, Social, and Military History. 5 vols. 2008

  • Covers the economic, social, and cultural (music/literature/film/religion) impact of the Cold War
  • Articles on nations, diplomacy, weapons systems, major military establishments, war, important battles, and individuals
  • Supplementary materials include: introductory essays, maps, political structure of the Cold War military, Cold War chronology, glossary, and select bibliography



Cold War, 1945 -1991. 3v. 1992

  • Encyclopedia that Includes biographies of important figures, and articles on major events, ideas, and themes associated with the Cold War between the United States and communist nations.
  • Each entry is accompanied by a list of additional readings and cross references to related articles.




Cold War Reference Guide: A General History and Annotated Chronology with Selected Biographies 1997

  • Articles arranged in four sections: General History; Highlights; Chronologies; and Prominent Figures.
  • Some of the topics include containment, massive retaliation, detente, the bomb, McCarthyism, Berlin, Cuban missile crisis, Vietnam, and the CIA/FBI.
  • Selected bibliography and index.

Encyclopedia of the Cold War. 1994

  • Articles on people, places, events associated with the Cold War.
  • Bibliography arranged by world region.

Encyclopedia of the Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. 2006

  • Articles on individual spies, but also Includes articles on affairs, crises, disasters, hoaxes, and scandals;assassinations and suspected assassinations; and covert activities and operations

Cold War, 1945 -1991.(John W. Mason) 1996

  • Monograph that provides an overview of the Cold War

Primary Sources  

Cold War International History Project [CWIHP] (Woodrow Wilson Center)

  • Provides access to primary sources on the Cold War from the U.S. and former Communist bloc countries.
  • Over 50 collections that focus on events, regions, and themes such as the origins and end of the Cold War, Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Intelligence Operations, and the Sino-Soviet Split.
  • Browse by topic or geographic region or use the search feature.
Primary Sources  

Foreign Relations of the United States, 1945-1950, Emergence of the Intelligence Establishment

  • "Includes high-level governmental plans, discussions, administrative decisions, and managerial actions that established institutions and procedures for the central coordination of intelligence collection and analysis and covert action.
  • Documents the advice, actions, and initiatives of principals and groups in other departments and agencies, who helped to lay the foundations for the centralized intelligence bureaucracy. " - from the site

    National Security and Terrorism


Encyclopedia of United States National Security
. 2 v. 2006

Topics covering: Armed Forces and Other Defenders; Alliances, Pacts, & Treaties;Armaments & Weapons Systems; Concepts & Theories; Decision Makers; Key Events; Movements; Military Hardware; Military & Nonmilitary Strategy; Organizations, Institutions & Groups; Places; Politics & Policy; Special Populations; Technology; Wars & Warfare. Brief list of references with each article, as well as a selected bibliography and timeline.


Center for the Study of Intelligence

  • Search through articles by title that have appeared in Studies in Intelligence: Journal of the American Intelligence Professional, which Includes articles on people, events, and commentaries on declassified materials written by scholars, diplomats and government officials, OR
  • Look for declassified documents related to the Cold War or more specific topics from the Freedom of Information Act page

Center for Strategic & International Studies

One of this organization's areas of focus is U.S. defense policy and international security.

Primary Sources

Terrorism: A Documentary History
. 2003

Includes government reports and directives, speeches, news articles and legal documents that provide historical significance and context regarding the development of U.S. policy towards terrorism.

Primary Sources

National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States

Provides access to the report of The Commission and other related documents, which serve as background regarding the need for policy change.


Terrorism Project
[Center for Defense Information]
"Provides insights, in-depth analysis and facts on the military, security and foreign policy challenges of terrorism..." - as quoted from the Web site
Information on arms trade, legislation, U.S. policy, and U.S. weapons systems.

Brookings Project on Terrorism and American Foreign Policy
"The project will present an ongoing series of briefings on various aspects of the crisis, analytical publications ranging from short 2,000-word papers to full-length books, and a large and growing website containing background resources, full texts of relevant government documents, and archived video, audio, and printed transcripts of Brookings events." -as quoted from the Web site-

Primary Sources   U.S. Government Resources

U.S. Department of State

Department of State Bulletin. 1946 - 1989

  • Available in the 5th floor stacks of Cook Libary [JX232 A33]

Search the Office of the Historian site for links to:

  • Principal Officers of the Department and U.S. Chiefs of Mission - 1778 - up to 2 years ago
    • Indexed by country and by official
  • Visits to the U.S. by Foreign Heads of State and Government - 1874 - up to 1 year ago
    • Arranged by year
  • Presidents and Secretaries of State Foreign Travels - 1906 - up to 2 years ago
    • Search by president, secretary, or destination
  • Timeline of U.S. Diplomatic History - 1776 - 1889
    • Accompanied by brief articles with suggested readings
  • Additional governement sites that provide historical information and the Presidential libraries


U.S. Central Intelligence Agency

  • Provides access to documents, reports, maps, and videos, some declassified, covering CIA intelligence activities, including the Cold War
  • Visit the Historical Collection, which highlights important events in American policy, each one of which is accompanied by digitized primary sources
  • Links to external sources of declassified documents such as the National Archives

Frontline Diplomacy

  • Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training
  • Transcripts of interviews with U.S. diplomatic personnel
  • Mostly Foreign Service Officers, with some political appointees and other officials
  • Focus on post-World War II diplomacy from late 1940s to the 1990s with a few from 1920s - 1930s
  • Browse by interviewee or broad subjects such as Berlin Airlift/Wall, Cuban Missile Crisis, Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Israel-Arab War/ Six Day War, Kremlin/Politburo, Nuclear Nonproliferation, NAFTA, Suez Crisis
  • For a more specific topic, search for words in the full text of interviews

The White House: Issues

  • Check section on Foreign Policy and others, if related.
  • Includes recent news releases and speeches.

American Presidency Project [University of California, Santa Barbara]

  • Archive of over 78,000 primary sources including public papers of the President, inaugural addresses, news conferences, fire-side chats, and speeches

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States

Cumulation of Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. Covers Hoover, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.

Bush, Clinton, and Bush are also available online through NARA.

On Microfilm
2nd floor


Presidential Papers on Microfilm [Series]

This microfilm series is located on the 2nd floor of Cook Library in filing cabinets near the Periodicals Desk. The call numbers range from E300 - E750. Included are the following presidents:

  • Arthur, Chester Alan Papers 1843-1938
  • Cleveland, Grover Papers 1828-1945
  • Coolidge, Calvin Papers 1921-1929
  • Grant, Ulysses S. Papers 1844-1922
  • Harrison, William Henry Papers 1734-1939
  • Jackson, Andrew Papers 1775-1856
  • Johnson, Andrew Papers 1814-1900
  • Lincoln, Abraham Papers 1833-1916
  • Madison, James Papers 1674-1859
  • McKinley, William Papers 1847-1902
  • Monroe, James Papers 1758-1839
  • Pierce, Franklin Papers 1820-1869
  • Taylor, Zachary Papers 1814-1931
  • Tyler, John Papers 1710-1918
  • Washington, George Papers 1741-1799
To check the catalog record for manuscript collections in each set, search the Towson Catalog > Advanced Search > Search for words in.... series > enter word/s to search search as... presidential papers

NARA Presidential Libraries and Museum Page

  • Provides links to U.S. Presidential libraries, which provide selected primary sources.
  • Explains various types of presidential documents and how they can be useful in your research.
  • Don't miss the Presidential Documents Guide, which describes the content of the various presidential materials that are available online.
  • In the Diplomacy and Foreign Policy section of this site, you will find links to other primary sources such as the U.S. State Department publications, including many of the volumes of Foreign Relations of the U.S. (FRUS) published since 1945.
    • Series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. Online volumes drawn from the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon/Ford administrations.
  • University of Wisconsin Libraries provides electronic access and keyword searching to a substantial run of those volumes published between 1861-1960.
  • Cook Library also owns print copies of Foreign Relations of the U.S. from 1861 to most current available, which run behind by over thirty years. These can be found on the 5th floor of the library with the call number KZ233 U55.


Shelved in the 5th floor stacks


Documents on American Foreign Relations. 1938 - 1970 Annual
[World Peace Foundation/Council on Foreign Relations]

  • Collection of documents selected for their significance to U.S. foreign relations
  • Not limited to U.S. government sources
  • Documents are accompanied by introductory historical essays in the later volumes
  • American Foreign Relations, published from 1971-1978 continues the set


Shelved in the 5th floor stacks


Dynamics of World Power: A Documentary History of United States Foreign Policy, 1945 - 1973

  • Primary sources including statements by U.S. officials, policy directives, diplomatic communications, and interntational agreements
  • Areas covered include: Western Europe; Eastern Europe & Soviet Union; Latin America; Far East; United Nations; and Subsaharan Africa

Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy [Yale Law School]

  • Provides full text access to primary sources with a focus on the history of U.S. foreign relations
  • Documents range from the 17th century to date
  • Keyword searchable

National Security Archives

  • Provides electronic access to declassified documents from the U.S. government dealing with U.S. involvement in Latin America, Asia, Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe.
  • Also includes sections on Intelligence Policy and Nuclear History.

CIA Electronic Reading Room

  • Provides electronic access to declassified documents from the CIA published by the National Intelligence Council which focus on China, Vietnam, and the former Soviet Union
  • Search by keyword or browse by region or by topics including military, economic, science & technology, strategic & nuclear, and transnational threat
  • Also indexes Declassified National Intelligence Estimates, which are accessible by permission at the National Archives Building in College Park, MD
  • NIEs are "authoritative" statements that reflect on what will happen in the future regarding issues that affect national security
  • Included in the collections are analyses on free world countries written between 1946 - 1950 and the USSR from 1950 - 1993
  Organizations and Think Tanks

American Foreign Policy from WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources

  • Annotated list of Web sites from mostly research institues and think tanks that cover topics relevant to American foreign policy

Council on Foreign Relations: A Nonpartisan Source for Information and Analysis

  • Search for information on issues that affect the development of American foreign policy
  • Publishes daily analyses, region/issue briefs, backgrounders, interviews, journal articles, podcasts, and videos
  • Search by issue, region (For example, United States), or type of publication

American Foreign Policy Council

  • Search for publications by issue, region or type

Brookings Institute: Foreign Policy

  • Some features include security indexes for Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, trip reports, and research and commentary
  • Use advanced search feature to limit keyword search by topic, research project, center, content type, or date

Foreign Policy in Focus: A Think Tank Without Walls

  • U.S. foreign policy and international affairs including sections on military, drug control, human rights, environment, global governance, and women.
  • Also searchable by geographic region.

Foundation for Defense of Democracies [FDD]

  • "...nonpartisan policy institute dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism. " - from the Website
  • One of their areas of focus is policy research.
  • Publishes editorials, analyses, backgrounders, policy briefs, whitepapers on various topics with a heavy focus on terrorism and human rights.
  • Includes sections on Arabic democracy, Syria, and Egypt.
  • Articles are written by academicians, experts, journalists, members of Congress, former government officials, but it also draws from international news sources.


Online Databases & Indexes

The following online databases, which index primarily secondary, but some primary sources, are available only through the Cook Library Web site. You will be prompted to enter your 14-digit library ID, which is on the front of your TU Onecard (or can be accessed from here, when you are not on campus.


Academic Search Premier, America: History & Life, Social Sciences Abstracts, Military & Government Collection [Ebsco]

  • Go into Academic Search and once in it, click on choose databases to select the other databases such as America: History & Life, Social Sciences Abstracts and Military & Government Collection, so that you can search them simultaneously.
  • Search for articles from magazines and journals in various disciplines including Political Science, Law, International Relations, and History. These databases contain or link to full text through Find article text in many cases.
  • Academic Search Premier indexes scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals, news magazines, and the New York Times
  • America: History & Life indexes articles on topics from an historical point of view
  • Social Sciences Abstracts indexes a broad selection of journals in the Social Sciences
  • Military & Government Collection indexes publications like FDCH Political Transcripts, Press Releases, & Congressional Testimony and Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents

Praeger Security International: Terrorism, Homeland Security, Strategy

  • Provides full text access to over 600 books, commentaries, and primary sources In addition to terrorism and homeland security, includes topics such as: Cold War and U.S. foreign relations
  • For most efficient searching, use the Advanced Search feature, combining terms, trying out different strategies, searching at least one of them as a title word
    • For example: cold war [title] AND atomic [keyword]
    • cold war [title] AND communism [keyword]
News, Interviews, & Speeches

LexisNexis Academic: Newspapers, News Transcripts & Speeches

Search Major U.S. and world newspapers. Provides full text of major national newspapers including New York Times (1980 - ) and Washington Post (1977 - ) .
Note: The truncation symbol in this database is !. For example, president! = president's, presidential

Note: Try the Power Search to limit your search to words in the Headline and Lead Paragraph. Click on Show options... and select section: HLEAD. Specify date to a particular date range, if desired . Once you have a list of results, you may want to click on Sort by Relevance to change the arrangement of results so that the "best" articles are listed first, instead of the "most current".

LexisNexis also provides the full text of political transcripts. To search this collection, click on Sources tab > News > News Transcripts > Transcripts (or select individual transcripts to search). Click on Show options... and select section Headline or HLEAD. Try searching a political figure or by name, combined with words like speech, interview, briefing, press conference, etc.


New York Times
1851 to date
Washington Post 1974 - to date

  • Provides full text and full image of all articles.
  • Current New York Times/Washington Post articles are available through both National Newspapers and LexisNexis Academic databases.
  • The Washington Post is available online back to 1877 with a Baltimore County Public Library card ( Begin the registratin process for a BCPL card here.)

World News Digest [Facts on File]

  • Archival record of domestic and international news, covers all major political, social, and economic events since November 1940
  • Includes an encyclopedia with articles on nations, people and events Almanac includes statistics and factual information on "hot" issues in the news
  • Curriculum Tools section has articles on such topics as conducting research, avoiding plagiarism, and evaluating primary and secondary sources

America: History and Life

Indexes articles from scholarly journals in social, polical, and economic history. Content focus is on the United States and Canada, covering the time period from 1450 to present. Some of the articles indexed are available electronically or in print through Cook Library.



Search and access the full text of 450 major scholarly journals in all disciplines from their first issue up to four years ago. Coverage complements the more current coverage of the EBSCO databases, America History & Life, and Historical Abstracts.

The following print resources index magazine, journal, and newspaper articles that were published earlier than the online databases cover. They index material published in English from the 18th century to the first half of the 20th century. They are shelved on the back wall of the main (3rd) floor of Cook Library. Those articles that were published during the time of an event would be considered primary sources

Palmer's Index to the Times Newspaper (London). 1785-

The Times of London is available on microfilm in the Periodicals Room on the 2nd floor of Cook Library.


International Index to Periodicals, Devoted Chiefly to Humanities and Science. 1907- 1964.

  • Indexes scholarly/professional journals
  • Continued by Social Sciences & Humanities Index 1966 - 1974 [Ref A13 S6]
  • Continued by Social Sciences Index 1974 -1997. [Ref A13 S611]

Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature . 1900 - 1997.

  • Indexes general interest and news magazines, as well as Department of State Bulletin, Congressional Digest, and Vital Speeches of the Day
  • Continues Poole's Index to Periodical Literature 1890 - 1899 [Ref A13 P7]

****Please check my other Web sites for more specific resources on related issues.****
International Relations Sources
[terrorism, human rights, regional organizations & resources, international organizations]

Country Information Sources
[sources that contain information arranged by country]

Latin American Resources
Middle East Resources
The URL for this Web page is http://pages.towson.edu/sara/amerifp.html

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