Fall 2023

The U.S. in the World: 1756–1898

Listed in: History, as HIST-156


Vanessa Walker (Sections 01, 01F and 02F)


[US/TE/TR] This course is an introduction to the major trends and developments in United States foreign relations from the nation’s rise from a loose coalition of colonies on the Atlantic seaboard to a continental and world power by the beginning of the twentieth century. This course will seek to understand the effect of expansion on the nation’s values, institutions, and history, and examine the methods used to extend the nation’s borders, trade, and influence. It engages “foreign relations” in broad terms to incorporate ideology, race, gender, technology, economics, geopolitics, and culture as important forces in shaping the United States’ understanding of and behavior toward the world. The country’s domestic character critically determined the ways in which the nation’s power took shape on the world stage, even as global interactions shaped nascent U.S. institutions and identities. This course will examine how economic and security needs shaped foreign policy goals, while social norms and domestic values informed the ways Americans interacted with other societies. Three class meetings per week.

Fall semester. Limited to 40 students. Fifteen spaces reserved for first-year students. Professor Walker.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to History majors, by seniority if necessary

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Close analysis of historical evidence, which may include written documents, images, music, films, or statistics from the historical period under study. Exploration of scholarly, methodological, and theoretical debates about historical topics. Extensive reading, varying forms of written work, and intensive in-class discussions.

HIST 156 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 9:00 AM - 9:50 AM SCCE A131
Th 9:00 AM - 9:50 AM SCCE A131

This is preliminary information about books for this course. Please contact your instructor or the Academic Coordinator for the department, before attempting to purchase these books.

Section(s) ISBN Title Publisher Author(s) Comment Book Store Price
All From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776 Oxford University Press, 2011 George C. Herring Amherst Books TBD
All Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance University of Georgia Press, 2014 Ronald Angelo Johnson Amherst Books TBD
All The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War Basic Books, 2017 Don H. Doyle Amherst Books TBD
All The New Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations: Dimensions of the Early American Empire, 1754-1865 Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2013. Week, William Earl TBD

These books are available locally at Amherst Books.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2023