Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations

“Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations” provides a general overview of the history of U.S. engagement with the world through short essays on important moments, or milestones, in the diplomatic history of the United States. The basic objective of these essays is to provide a clear, accurate, narrative account of the events being discussed, with a brief discussion of each event’s significance for U.S. foreign policy and diplomatic history. The publication is divided into 19 chapters covering time periods from 1750 until 2000, with brief introductions providing context for each period.

The essays were drafted for the Office of the Historian website by many historians over many years, and we continue to revise and expand the existing periods. Most recently, the essays covering the Kennedy and Johnson (1961–68), Nixon and Ford (1969–76), Carter (1977–80), Reagan (1981–88), Bush (1989–92), and Clinton (1993–2000) administrations were revised and expanded. These same essays were also enhanced with “tags,” or lists of the key people, places, and topics in the essay. The tags appear as links in the right sidebar of the essay and facilitate discovery of other other essays and resources, including volumes from the Foreign Relations of the United States series, on these subjects. The “tags” feature is still in progress, and over time the Office will extend the tags to all of the essays.

To begin, select a period from the sidebar, or view a list of all milestones.