Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Domestic Politics of US Foreign Policy
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 6 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   2 hour exam  50%
Supplementary Assessment 2,500 word essay  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   2 hour exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Demonstrate an understanding of the historiography of US foreign policy since the 1890s.

Demonstrate an understanding of the main developments in US foreign policy since the 1890s.

Identify and evaluate a wide range of relevant primary and secondary material.

Demonstrate an ability to analyse and deploy relevant historical evidence to produce appropriate arguments.


This module focuses upon the role of the United States in the world from the 1890s to the 1990s with a particular emphasis upon the connections between domestic political developments, public opinion and the foreign policy decisions taken at Washington. It gives students the opportunity to examine US foreign policy in relation to US constitutional arrangements, foreign policy traditions, ideology, political culture and social movements.

Brief description

The module begins with an examination of the US political system, with a particular emphasis on the constitutional arrangements which make it both highly permeable to domestic lobby groups and sensitive to public opinion. Students will investigate how foreign policy outcomes emerge from a struggle between the executive branch and Congress for control of policy, and look at the impact of political parties, interest groups, ideology and public opinion. The second part of the course focuses on case studies, including the Spanish-American War, the annexation of the Philippines, the First World War, and the Second World War. Post-1945 case studies include the Truman Doctrine speech, recognition of Israel and the Vietnam War.


1: The US Constitution and Foreign Policy
2: Public Opinion, interest groups and elections
3: Culture and ideology
4: The Spanish-American War
5: The Annexation of the Philippines
6: World War One and the Treaty Fight
7: Roosevelt and ‘Isolationism’ before Pearl Harbor
8: Managing Public Opinion in Wartime
9: Truman’s internationalism
10: Recognition of Israel
11: The MacArthur controversy
12: The Guatemala Intervention
13: The domestic challenges of Cuba policy under Eisenhower and Kennedy
14: The Vietnam War
15: The legacy of Vietnam: Congress resurgent?
16: The Panama Canal Treaties
17: South Africa policy under Reagan and Bush
18: Post Cold War US Cuba policy

Race and imperialism
Woodrow Wilson and his legacy
Roosevelt and public opinion
The Truman years
The Vietnam War
Foreign policy after Vietnam.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number NA
Communication Written communication skills will be developed through the coursework and written examination; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be advised on how to improve research and communication skills through the individual tutorial providing feedback on submitted coursework.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they consider potential career paths
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems which arise as part of the study of this subject area and to undertake suitable research for seminars and essays.
Research skills Students will develop their research skills by reading a range of texts and evaluating their usefulness in preparation for the coursework and the written examination
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop an understanding of the role played by the United States in the world between the 1890s and the 1990s, and the domestic factors that constrained/influenced this role.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 5