United States Foreign Policy: Democracy and Human Rights

Fall 2012

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-482; Jon W. Western (Section 01)

  • Overview
  • Databases
  • Reference
  • Data
  • Primary Sources
  • Web Resources


This course guide provides starting places for searches about American foreign policy.

See the web resources tab for online links to government agency websites and other online resources.

To get started searching in the Five Colleges catalog, try including the subject term:

United States -- Foreign relations

Databases: Find articles, book chapters, e-books

Congressional Publications
Index to U.S. congressional material, some full text.

Discover: Start here for books, articles & more
Simultaneously search research databases plus the Five Colleges Libraries Catalog to find full-text articles, books and more.

FBIS: Federal Broadcast Information Service Daily Reports (1974-1996)
News in translation (by the CIA) from radio, television, and newspapers around the world.

Historical Newspapers (ProQuest)
Combined search of the historic Boston Globe, Chicago Defender, Chinese Newspapers Collection, Hartford Courant, Los Angeles Times, New York Amsterdam News, New York Times, South China Morning Post, Times of India, and Washington Post.

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) (1951 to present)
Indexes about 3,000 journals and 7,000 books per year.

PAIS Index (1972 to present)
Coverage of articles, selected books, government documents, research reports, etc., from a wide range of social sciences.

Political Science Database (ProQuest) (1985 to present)
Full-text articles from leading political science and international relations journals.

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (1975 to present)
Covers international journals in political science and its complementary fields.


Data on United State Foreign Assistance for 2002 forward is available on the Foriegn Assistance.gov website

The Foreign Assistance Dashboard was created in response to the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and President Obama’s Open Government Initiative. The goal of the Foreign Assistance Dashboard is to enable a wide variety of stakeholders, including U.S. citizens, civil society organizations, the Congress, U.S. Government agencies, donors, and partner country governments, the ability to examine, research, and track U.S. Government foreign assistance investments in an accessible and easy-to-understand format.

Historical spending back to 1946 is available from the USAID Overseas Loans and Grant website.

This website provides a complete historical record of all foreign assistance provided by the United States to the rest of the world. It is a companion to the annual report to Congress, U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants, Obligations and Loan Authorizations—commonly known as the Greenbook.

Primary Sources

U.S. Congressional Serial Set (1817-1976)
Reports, documents and journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Preceded by American State Papers.

Web Resources

United Nations Library

Dag Hammarskjöld Library - Homepage

UN Documentation - Research Guide (use this as a "cheat sheet" for document symbols and more)

United Nations Biblographic Information System (UNBISnet)

This is the main catalog search for books and official documents.

United States. Department of State.

Executive Agecies and Departments

The Department of State is the lead U.S. foreign affairs agency. The Secretary of State is the President's principal adviser on foreign policy and the person chiefly responsible for U.S. representation abroad. However, there are numerous other federal agencies which perform a vital role in the shaping of United States foreign policy.