Mid Term Exam
American Foreign Policy
Spring 1998


Please answer one of the following questions. Your answer is to be no more than 5 typed and doubled-spaced pages. This exam is open book and open discussion. Feel free to consult any sources you think useful. Be sure, however, to cite fully all sources.

The exam is due in class on March 11. If you have particular problems with this schedule, please contact one of the instructors.


1. C. Vann Woodward discusses the impact of "free security" on American values and policies. In his essay he argues that Americans could afford to adopt a fairly passive attitude toward questions of national security. In another essay Frederick Jackson Turner describes the influence of the frontier on American values and in American history. Turner suggests that the frontier shaped a highly energetic and active American character. Which argument is more compelling? Discuss citing examples from American foreign policy.

2. Compare and contrast the American response at the end of World War I (1918-1919) with its response at the end of World War II (1945-46). Discuss the different foreign policy visions that emerged in each context and the abiding American values present in both.

3. Over the first century and a half of American foreign policy, many arguments were made about the "threat" posed by certain countries: Spain, throughout the 19th century; Germany, at the beginning of the 20th century; and Japan, both at the end of the 19th century and leading up to World War II. Examine the ways in which these "threats" were constructed. Do you find similarities or differences in the cases examined? Be sure to draw your evidence from the historical documents provided in the readings.

4. "As America entered the 20th century, it stepped onto the world stage with great confidence and great ambivalence." Discuss the ways its historical experience over the previous century shaped the conflicting values underlying American foreign policy