United States Diplomatic History: Wikis

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

History of the United States
Coat of Arms of the United States
This article is part of a series
Pre-Columbian period
Colonial period
Westward expansion
Overseas expansion
Diplomatic history
Military history
Technological and industrial history
Economic history
Cultural history
Civil War
History of the South
Civil Rights (1896–1954)
Civil Rights (1955–1968)
Women's history

United States Portal
 v • d • e 

The diplomatic history of the United States oscillated among three positions: isolation from diplomatic entanglements of other (typically European) nations (but with economic connections to the world); alliances with European and other military partners; and unilateralism, or operating on its own sovereign policy decisions. This is in direct contrast to the European Union, whose member States have given up their national sovereignty in exchange for cooperative mediation and group policy-making, especially in the economic arena.


Timeline of United States diplomatic history

See Brune (2003) and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., ed. The Almanac of American History (1983) for specifics of each incident.

18th century

  • 1776 - Thirteen Colonies declared independence as the United States of America on July 2; Declaration of Independence adopted on July 4
  • 1776 - Three commissioners sent to Europe to negotiate treaties
  • 1777 - European officers recruited to Continental Army, including Marquis de La Fayette, Johann de Kalb, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, and Tadeusz Kościuszko
  • 1777 - France decides to recognize America in December after victory at Saratoga, New York
  • 1778 - Treaty of Allies. America and France agreed to come to each others aid in event of a British attack from the present time and forever; abrogated in 1800.
  • 1778 - Carlisle Peace Commission sent by Great Britain; offers Americans all the terms they sought in 1775, but not independence; rejected
  • 1779 - Spain enters the war as an ally of France (but not of America); John Jay appointed minister to Spain; he obtains money but not recognition
  • 1779 - John Adams sent to Paris, France to negotiate peace terms with Great Britain
  • 1780 - Russia proclaims "armed neutrality" which helps Allies
  • 1780-81 - Russia and Austria propose peace terms; rejected by Adams
  • 1781 - Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson named to assist Adams in peace negotiations; Congress insists on independence; all else is negotiable
  • 1782 - Holland recognizes American independence and signs treaty of commerce and friendship; Dutch bankers loan $2 million for war supplies
  • 1783 - Treaty of Paris ends Revolutionary War; U.S. boundaries confirmed as British North America on north, Mississippi River on west, Florida on south.
  • 1784 - British allow trade with America but forbid some American food exports to West Indies; British exports to America reach £3.7 million, imports only £750,000; imbalance causes shortage of gold in U.S.
  • 1784 - New York–based merchants open the China trade, followed by Salem, Boston, Philadelphia merchants
  • 1785 - Adams appointed first minister to Court of Saint James (Great Britain); Jefferson replaces Franklin as minister to France
  • 1789 - Jay-Gardoqui Treaty with Spain, gave Spain exclusive right to navigate Mississippi River for 30 years; not ratified because of western opposition.
  • 1793–1815 - Major worldwide war between Great Britain and France (and their allies); America neutral until 1812 and does business with both sides
  • 1795 - Jay Treaty with Britain. Averts war, opens 10 years of peaceful trade with Britain, fails to settle neutrality issues; British eventually evacuate western forts; boundary lines and debts (in both directions) to be settled by arbitration. Barely approved by Senate (1795) after revision; intensely opposed, became major issue in formation of First Party System
  • 1796 - Treaty of Madrid established boundaries with the Spanish colonies of Florida and Louisiana and guaranteed navigation rights on the Mississippi River. It becomes law
  • 1797 - Treaty of Tripoli; peace treaty with Barbary state of Tripoli signed into law by President John Adams on June 10; America says government is non-religious in origin and practice; violated in 1801 by the Basha of Tripoli which led to the Tripolitanian War.
  • 1797 - XYZ Affair; humiliation by French diplomats; threat of war with France.
  • 1798–1800 - Quasi-War; undeclared naval war with France.

19th century

20th century

21st century


  1. ^ Louis A. Perez, Jr. Cuba under the Platt Amendment, 1902–1934. Univ of Pittsburgh Pr. ISBN 0822935333
    Platt Amendment. Our Documents.com National Archives.
    An Amendment's End. Time Magazine.
  2. ^ a b CIA and Assassinations: The Guatemala 1954 Documents. U.S. National Archive.


  • Bailey, Thomas A. Diplomatic History of the American People (1940), standard older textbook
  • Beisner, Robert L. ed, American Foreign Relations since 1600: A Guide to the Literature (2003), 2 vol. 16,300 annotated entries evaluate every major book and scholarly article.
  • Bemis, Samuel Flagg. A Diplomatic History of the United States (1952) old standard textbook
  • Bemis, Samuel Flagg and Grace Gardner Griffin. Guide to the Diplomatic History of the United States 1775–1921 (1935) bibliographies
  • Brune, Lester H. Chronological History of U.S. Foreign Relations (2003), 1400 pages
  • Burns, Richard Dean, ed. Guide to American Foreign Relations since 1700 (1983) highly detailed annotated bibliography
  • Deconde, Alexander, et al. eds. Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy 3 vol (2001), 2200 pages; 120 long articles by specialists.
  • DeConde, Alexander; A History of American Foreign Policy (1963) online edition
  • Findling, John, ed. Dictionary of American Diplomatic History 2nd ed. 1989. 700pp; 1200 short articles.
  • Hogan, Michael J. ed. Paths to Power: The Historiography of American Foreign Relations to 1941 (2000) essays on main topics
  • Hogan, Michael J., and Thomas G. Paterson, eds. Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations (1991) essays on historiography
  • Walter. The American Age: United States Foreign Policy at Home and Abroad, 1750 to Present (2nd ed 1994) textbook; 884pp online edition

See also

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address