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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The history of American foreign and defense policy is framed by an enduring debate over the appropriate role of federal power in national politics. From the very beginning, parties formed around the role of the armed forces and how America should conduct its diplomacy. Competition between the branches of government, and the parties therein, over who should direct foreign and defense policy is central to their history. This chapter charts the contours of that competition, most notably between the president and Congress, and then considers the ideas that have driven these often overlapping public policies. It concludes by arguing that whilst this competition is basic to the history of the subject, continuity in foreign and defense policy is also an important part of the story.

Keywords: foreign policy, defense policy, president, Congress, isolationism, Wilsonianism, realism, liberalism, public opinion, national security

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