political science, american foreign

Throughout this class we have read and discussed a variety of approaches and methods to US foreign policy. Beginning with George Washington (and earlier) and throughout the history of the United States through the end of the Cold War. We do not, however, read about “contemporary” US foreign policy of the 21st century.

For you final essay you will write draw from any six readings in the sections of Ideas and American Foreign Policy from which we have no assignment. Those sections, Impact of 9/11, Dissent after 9/11, and Chastened Superpower, present a selection of ideas and themes from recent history as the United States grappled with responses to global terrorism and the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Your selection must conform to the following restrictions: At least one speech from each of three sections and at least two readings from at least two of them. That is, although you can focus your essay on 2 of 3 sections by only selecting 1 reading from one section, you cannot select 4 readsong from one section and only 1 from the other two. That ensures you focus your attention broadly.

As with your mid-term paper, there are many approaches you can take with your paper. Did the post-9/11 make sense as strategic logic even if it failed in execution? Are the post 9/11 debates just a re-hasing of Hamiltonian-Wilsonian debates or has something else changed? Is the restrained approach to foreign policy logically consistent or is it merely a knee-jerk reaction to Bush’s response to 9/11? (These are only a few suggestions.)


Your paper will be 7-10 paragraphs, with one paragraph for an introduction and one for the conclusion. Each paragraph should be at least 5 sentences but no more than 200 words. Your paper should therefore be about 1400-2000 words.

Your paper must have a clearly defended thesis. You must also rely only on the texts to justify your position. Outside citations are not permitted. This is not a research paper but a sustained reflection on the course to this point. Good papers will, however, draw on themes we’ve discussed in class such as the Principle-Agent problem, electoral incentives, guns-butter, just war theory, two-level games, agent-structure debates, and so forth. (You obviously do not need to include all theme.)


You be graded on the quality of your thesis, evidence, logic, formatting, and spelling/grammar. In fact, 20 percent of the grade will be on formatting, spelling, and grammar. The other 80 percent will be on the structure, logic, clarity of thesis, use of evidence, and so forth.

Papers must be formatted in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style. Papers should use 1″ margins on all sides, use 12pt Times New Roman Font, and double spaced text. Include a formatted title page. For additional information on these guidelines, you should consult Kate Turabian, A Manual for Writers, Eighth Edition (Chicago Press). Additionally, all papers must be stapled when they are turned in. I will not accept papers without staples.

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