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America and the World: A Diplomatic History

Get an engaging look at a unique facet of American history—its diplomatic interactions with other states throughout history.
America and the World: A Diplomatic History is rated 4.6 out of 5 by 70.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from A solid introduction to the topic material If the objective of this course of learning is to provide a "macro view" of the topic of American diplomatic efforts over the course of its history (as opposed to a history of the full range of America's interactions with the nations of the world), then this course attains its objective. It is, however, a top level review, not an "in depth" program of study. As the discussion proceeds from America's early years to the more current era, there is clearly (to this reviewer, anyway) a need to skip over details and/or to "economize" on the topics that can be covered in the allotted time. As noted in other reviews, the 24 lecture course limitation can be an unfortunate constraint on the learning that can be delivered by the lecturer. That said, a solid program of study, well worth the time to watch and listen carefully.
Date published: 2023-08-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from OK to Good This course is a bit of a twist on American History – it focuses on American foreign relations. (Of course, since foreign relations are often based strongly on domestic politics, the distinction is often not so clear-cut.) Thus, it reveals links in American events that are not normally evident, and that is a benefit. Unfortunately, these gems are not as common as one would hope. This course generally ends up being just another American History course. I was particularly grateful for the treatment of the Vietnam conflict, an area of history that is not addressed much in The Great Courses. Dr. Stoler is a good speaker. He shows both strengths and weaknesses of most American leaders. He generally keeps his own perspective to himself until the last lecture in which he draws his conclusions. I used the audio version. It was sufficient; I doubt that the video would have added much.
Date published: 2022-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Overall This is an authoritative and thought provoking account of the history of U.S. foreign policy. Professor Stoler’s greatest expertise is on the diplomacy of the Second World War, where few, if any can match his knowledge, but he has a thorough understanding of U.S. diplomacy for earlier and later periods as well. His lectures rest on his having assimilated a tremendous amount of scholarship, but he carries his learning lightly and is above all concerned with discussing the subject with clarity and vividness. He is generally balanced in his presentation, finding both positive and negative attributes in most of the figures he examines, and expressing his judgments with a taste for irony and paradox that I found thought-provoking. While his judgment and factual knowledge is generally excellent, I do think he is mistaken when he seems to suggest that the U.S. government was directly involved in overthrowing Allende (the coup plotters believed they would receive U.S. support, but that is not the same thing). Overall, however, this is an excellent course, effectively presented, and I think anyone wanting to learn more about the subject would benefit from it.
Date published: 2021-06-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking Dr. Stoler provides a good summary of over 200 years of American 'diplomatic history' in an interesting and thoughtful manner.
Date published: 2021-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wish I Could Give This Course 6 Stars As soon as I saw that Professor Stoler was teaching this course I knew it would be stellar. His course on The Skeptic's Guide to US History was captivating. He succeeded here as well. This course provides an excellent history of the United States’ diplomatic relations with the various nations of the world from its inception to the 21st century focusing on its rise from a weak country in the 18th century to a world superpower. Professor Stoler focuses not just on the US’ diplomatic history but chronicles its internal growth as well and the major events of its history. This course could’ve served as a US history course as well and is much more preferable to "The History of the United States, 2nd Edition" course (by a mile). Most if not all of the lectures were highly intriguing but the discussion of US relations with France and Great Britain after the American Revolution were enlightening and riveting (lectures 4-7). I thought I had heard all there was to know about the founding fathers but his tale of how John Adams took a courageous stand concerning war with France that cost him politically was new to me. There are more moments like that which make this a must have course. It isn't just content or new knowledge that propels this course. I love the professor's presentation style. He doesn’t mince his words and tells it as it is which is refreshing. His frequent attempts to work in sarcastic humor also work excellently. I had a hard time finding any minuses with this course but maybe the only possible shadow of such would be this: While he is good at providing insight into both the positive and negative historian reaction\critical analysis relating to the legacy of a specific US President, Secretary of State, or strategy, he doesn’t conclude by articulating the opinion that the majority of critics hold so you’re left with both the good and bad reviews, wondering just how has history viewed this person and their accomplishments/failures overall? I would recommend this course not just for its great diplomatic relations history but also the one from TGC catalog that should serve as THE definitive history of the United States course. This is one of those courses you'll find yourself unable to stop listening to lecture after lecture. Please bring back Professor Stoler for another course!
Date published: 2020-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A revelation I've studied U.S. history all my life, but this course presented an aspect that I knew little about. It shed light on some people who made great contributions but who receive less attention than they deserve, like John Quincy Adams and George F. Keenan. It also traces the events that led to the Vietnam war as far back as F.D.R., and it spotlights the missteps that led to the current mess in the Middle East. It also offers a lot of information about one area that I knew almost nothing about, U.S. involvement in Latin America. The course stops with the George W. Bush administration, so there is not a lot about the revival of Russia and China. But the professor is trenchant and insightful and gives a cautionary view of the trend of America's diplomacy which proves to be true today. I highly recommend it for those who like to dig beneath the surface of historical events.
Date published: 2020-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lessons learned still applicable today I took this course 11 years after it was first published. The lessons learned, or at least taught, in this course are incredibly pertinent to the discussion of American foreign policy in 2019. During my 33 years with the U.S. Air Force and graduate study in international relations I think I have learned a few things: 1) There are lessons learned and lessons never learned ! 2) It is better to take the same course from two different professors than two courses from the same professor. 3) Where you stand on an issue depends are where you sit. All historians try to get inside the brains of the key players; always hard to do. Different people with different political opinions/ideologies will always disagree over the pros and cons of any policy and the out come of that policy. The most insight comes from listening to a number of interpretations. Those reviews of this course that are critical may have some merit; however, in my opinion those critiques are minor compared to the major points of the discussion. Viewing this as one professor's interpretation of complicated issues provides valuable insight. Regardless of who did what to who and why; a review of the ultimate outcome explains how America got to where it is today. This course is well worth listening to. There are lessons to be learned and not forgotten.
Date published: 2019-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a Great Course The Professor is 100% genuine. He knows the material very well. I truly learned quite a bit from this course. The professor takes the student down a path that allows you to understand where our form of government was born. His thoughts were his own but based on a conclusions he obviously researched and examined in depth. Five Stars for this Professor.
Date published: 2018-01-31
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Overview

How did the United States evolve from 13 colonies into the most powerful nation the world has ever known? How did this impressive change come about in less than two centuries? The answers to these questions are at the center of America and the World: A Diplomatic History. Award-winning Professor Mark Stoler shows you how the U.S. rose to the heights of geopolitical strength. Using the lens of foreign policy and diplomacy

About

Mark A. Stoler

History is an interpretive discipline in which we try to understand not only the past, but also the present by looking into the past.

INSTITUTION

The University of Vermont

Dr. Mark Stoler, who holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin, is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Vermont. An expert in U.S. foreign relations and military history, as well as the origins of the cold war, Professor Stoler has also held teaching positions at the United States Military Academy, the Army Military History Institute, the Naval War College, and-as a Fulbright Professor-the University of Haifa, Israel. He is the recipient of the University of Vermont's Kroepsch-Maurice Excellence in Teaching Award, the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award, and the University Scholar Award, as well as the Dean's Lecture Award for Outstanding Scholarship and Teaching, awarded by the university's College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Stoler also has been honored as an author when his Allies and Adversaries: The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Grand Alliance, and U.S. Strategy in World War II received the Society for Military History's Distinguished Book Award for 2002. The book is one of several he has written or cowritten, including Allies in War: Britain and America Against the Axis Powers, 1940-1945; Debating Franklin D. Roosevelt's Foreign Policies, 1933-1945; Major Problems in the History of World War II; George C. Marshall: Soldier-Statesman of the American Century; and The Politics of the Second Front: American Military Planning and Diplomacy in Coalition Warfare, 1941-1943.

By This Professor

The Skeptic's Guide to American History
854
Achieving Independence

01: Achieving Independence

This lecture introduces you to important course themes, including isolationism, mission, expansionism, idealism, and realism. You learn about their origins in American history and their importance in America's rise to superpower status, as well as their apparent contradictions, especially as they emerged during the Revolutionary War.

33 min
Confederation and the Constitution

02: Confederation and the Constitution

The postwar United States—13 sovereign, weak states gathered into a loose confederation—lived a threatened existence. You examine those threats and how they led to the creation of the Constitution, which established a stronger form of government capable of conducting a vigorous foreign policy.

30 min
The Great Debate—Jefferson versus Hamilton

03: The Great Debate—Jefferson versus Hamilton

The French Revolution and resulting European war produced foreign policy crises for George Washington and two fundamentally different policy recommendations. The partisan debate that followed threatened to rip the nation apart and contributed to Washington's Farewell Address.

29 min
From the Farewell Address to the Quasi War

04: From the Farewell Address to the Quasi War

Washington's Farewell Address is one of the most misunderstood documents in American history. You explore what Washington meant and then move to one of the most important yet overlooked periods in U.S. history: the politically courageous presidency of his successor, John Adams.

29 min
Jefferson and the

05: Jefferson and the "Empire of Liberty"

Thomas Jefferson's ideas regarding territorial expansion and its relationship to liberty became a dominant American force. This lecture focuses on those ideas and Jefferson's attempts to implement them, including the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, which more than doubled the size of the United States.

31 min
The

06: The "Second War for Independence"

Attempts by Jefferson and his successor, James Madison, to use peaceful economic coercion to defend American neutrality failed to prevent a second war with England. You learn how the War of 1812 produced numerous gains for the United States.

33 min
John Quincy Adams & American Continentalism

07: John Quincy Adams & American Continentalism

This lecture considers the continental vision and diplomacy of John Quincy Adams - perhaps America's greatest secretary of state including his authorship of the Monroe Doctrine, which reserved the entire Western Hemisphere for future U.S. expansion and influence.

31 min

08: "Manifest Destiny" and War with Mexico

Adams's diplomacy begins a period of expansion that by 1848 has added Oregon, Texas, California, and New Mexico, the last three by war. Americans justified this as "Manifest Destiny" particularly as practiced by President James K. Polk.

30 min
Causes and Diplomacy of the Civil War

09: Causes and Diplomacy of the Civil War

The territorial acquisitions of the 1840s magnified sectional tensions, thus playing a major role in the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. You gain fresh insight into how that happened before shifting your focus to Union and Confederate diplomacy during the conflict.

30 min
The

10: The "New Empire" of Overseas Imperialism

The Civil War years witnessed an industrial explosion that made the United States the world's mightiest economic power. You examine early efforts at overseas expansion and learn how the 1898 war with Spain left the United States with a formal colonial empire.

31 min
Informal Empire—Roosevelt to Wilson

11: Informal Empire—Roosevelt to Wilson

Whereas President William McKinley established a formal empire, his successors established a related but informal one. You learn how and why, and the roles played by the openly imperialist Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft and the supposedly anti-imperialist Woodrow Wilson.

29 min

12: "The War to End All Wars"

You explore Woodrow Wilson's efforts to avoid entry into World War I and why they failed, and his plan to remake international relations in a postwar world that would be "safe for democracy," as set forth in his famous 14 Points speech and other addresses.

30 min
The Peace Treaty and Wilson's Heritage

13: The Peace Treaty and Wilson's Heritage

Why were Wilson's efforts at the Paris Peace Conference largely unsuccessful? You explore the reasons for his many compromises and failures but also learn why he still must be considered one of the most influential figures in America's rise to superpower status.

30 min
Interwar Isolationism and Internationalism

14: Interwar Isolationism and Internationalism

Recent scholarship has challenged the interpretation of the United States as isolationist in the 1920s and 1930s. Learn why U.S. policies during this period are better described as "independent internationalism" and assess their relative successes and failures in the years between the wars.

30 min
U.S. Entry into World War II

15: U.S. Entry into World War II

You learn why the United States moved from neutrality to support of those nations at war with the Axis powers and then to its own declaration of war and explore the massive domestic debate over U.S. policy and the controversy about Pearl Harbor.

30 min
World War II Diplomacy and the FDR Legacy

16: World War II Diplomacy and the FDR Legacy

You focus on the Allied coalition's conflicting interests; the efforts of Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt to reconcile differences to achieve victory; and an assessment of Roosevelt as a diplomat and war leader.

32 min
Origins of the Cold War

17: Origins of the Cold War

The United States emerged from the war with enormously expanded military power, but so did the Soviets. You look at the Soviets' shift from ally to adversary; key American policies enunciated during this period, including the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, and Containment; and the formation of NATO.

30 min
Cold War Turns Hot—Asia and the Korean War

18: Cold War Turns Hot—Asia and the Korean War

Although the cold war remained cold in Europe, a host of armed conflicts seized Asia. You examine American decisions to intervene - most notably in Korea with enormous consequences for the next two decades of American foreign policy.

31 min
Eisenhower and the Global Cold War

19: Eisenhower and the Global Cold War

This lecture attempts a balanced foreign-affairs assessment of Dwight D. Eisenhower's controversial presidency.

30 min
Kennedy and the Ultimate Cold War Crisis

20: Kennedy and the Ultimate Cold War Crisis

The United States and the Soviet Union went to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. You explore the origins and unfolding of the crisis and examine some of President John Kennedy's other foreign and defense policies in assessing his overall legacy.

30 min
Vietnam and the War at Home

21: Vietnam and the War at Home

Beginning under President Truman, American involvement in Vietnam was transformed and expanded by three subsequent administrations. This lecture examines that expansion and why it failed and attempts to grasp the meaning and impact of this tragic chapter in American history.

31 min
The Nixon—Kissinger

22: The Nixon—Kissinger "Grand Design"

Failure in Vietnam forced a recognition of the limits of American power and an attempt to create a balance between desired ends and available means. The result was the most fundamental reorientation of American foreign policy since World

30 min
Ideology Anew and the End of the Cold War

23: Ideology Anew and the End of the Cold War

The years 1976-1988 saw what appeared to be two diametrically opposed foreign policies. In truth, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had much in common in their criticism of the Nixon-Kissinger approach - but vastly different ideas about what should be done.

30 min
The United States and the World Since 1991

24: The United States and the World Since 1991

You review the movement of the United States to its position as the most powerful nation the world has ever seen before analyzing why this movement took place, the major ideas Americans developed during the process, and the challenges that lie ahead.

31 min

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