Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Mutually Exclusive
HY37030, IP38120, IP37020, IP31920, IP36920, and IP35520

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture to be timetabled with HY 37030
Seminars / Tutorials


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 X ESSAY OF 2,500 WORDS  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   2 QUESTION CLOSED EXAMINATION  70%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate familiarity with a substantial body of historical knowledge and some political science literature in the field of US foreign policy.

Demonstrate familiarity with a variety of approaches to the study of US foreign policy and the interaction between domestic politics and foreign policy decisions.

Gather and sift appropriate items of historical evidence

Read, analyse and reflect critically on selected secondary and primary texts

Develop the ability to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of particular historical arguments and where necessary challenge them.

Develop oral (not assessed) and written skills which will have been improved through seminar discussions and essays

Work both independently and collaboratively, and to participate in group discussions (not assessed).

Brief description

This 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, such as 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, the Vietnam War and the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.


This module examines the impact of US domestic politics on foreign policymaking from the 1890s to the 1990s. The module offers students the opportunity to study US foreign policy from a perspective which is likely to be new to them. The case studies range from the more mainstream (the Second World War, Vietnam) to the more specialized (US policy towards Cuba in the post Cold War period).


1: The US Constitution and Foreign Policy
2: Public Opinion
3: Elections
4: Ideology
5: The Spanish-American War
6: The Annexation of the Philippines
7: The First World War: The Years of Neutrality and Intervention
8: The First World War: The Treaty Fight
9: The US response to the Nazi refugee crisis
10: US intervention in the Second World War
11: The Truman Doctrine
12: Recognition of Israel
13: The Guatemala Intervention
14: The Cuban Missile Crisis
15: The Vietnam War
16: The Jackson-Vanik Amendment
17: The Nicaraguan Contras
18: Post Cold War US policy towards Cuba
Seminars (10)
1: Interest Groups
2: Race and Imperialism
3: Woodrow Wilson and his legacy
4: Roosevelt and public opinion
5: The presidential election of 1948
6. The United States and Latin America
7. Vietnam and public opinion
8. Congress and the executive at odds
9. The end of the Cold War
10. Reflections on the domestic politics of US foreign policy
1 x 15 minute essay return tutorial

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
Communication Improve their listening skills during the lectures, and consequently develop skills in note taking; demonstrate and develop the ability to communicate ideas in the written work; skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars.
Improving own Learning and Performance Show awareness of own learning styles, personal preferences and needs; devise and apply realistic learning and self management strategies; devise a personal action plan to include short and long-term goals and to develop personal awareness of how to improve on these.
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to access information on CD-Roms and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be encouraged to word-process their work. These skills will not be formally assessed.
Personal Development and Career planning Develop awareness of personal skills, beliefs and qualities in relation to course in progression; plan and prepare for future course / career.
Problem solving Identify problems and factors which might influence potential solutions; develop creative thinking approaches to problem solving; evaluate advantages and disadvantages of potential solutions.
Research skills Read a wide range of both primary and secondary texts; understand a range of research methods and plan and carry out research; produce academically appropriate pieces of written work.
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Understand the concept of group dynamics; contribute to the setting of group goals; contribute effectively to the planning of group activities; play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars); exercise negotiation and persuasion skills; evaluate group activities and own contribution.


This module is at CQFW Level 6