History Podcasts



We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

France, though not at war with Britain, continued to harbor animosity towards its rival, particularly for the earlier loss of Canada at the end of the French and Indian War. American military setbacks, however, made the French cautious.Nevertheless, America's diplomatic team of Silas Deane, Arthur Lee, and Benjamin Franklin found their bargaining position enhanced when news of the victory at Saratoga arrived in France. France formally agreed to fight on America's side until victory was achieved, providing America with its first realistic hope of victory.


As soon as people organized themselves into separate social groups, the necessity of regularizing contacts with representatives of other groups became apparent. Even the earliest civilizations had rules for interaction.

The first civilization to develop an orderly system of diplomacy was ancient Greece. Ambassadors and special missions were sent from city to city to deliver messages and warnings, to transfer gifts, and to plead the cases of their own people before the rulers of other city-states. These diplomatic missions, however, were occasional and sporadic.

With the decline of Greece and the rise of the Roman Empire, the Greek system of diplomacy disappeared. As Rome expanded, its diplomacy served the purposes of conquest and annexation. The Romans were not inclined to coexist with other states on the basis of mutual interests. Rome issued commands it did not negotiate.

For almost a thousand years after the fall of Rome, Europeans thought of themselves not as members of separate nations but rather as members of smaller groups vaguely bound to some feudal overlord. Although localities had relations from time to time, no record exists of any formal diplomatic practices during the middle Ages.

Modern diplomacy had its origins during the Italian Renaissance. Early in the 15th century, a group of city-states developed in Italy, but none could dominate the rest, and all feared conquest by the others. The rulers of most of the city-states gained their positions through force and cunning. Because they could not count on the loyalty of their subjects, these rulers hoped to maintain allegiance by seeking foreign conquest and treasure. They sought opportunities to increase their power and expand their domain and were always concerned about the balance of power on the Italian Peninsula.

Although Renaissance diplomacy was especially vicious and amoral, the Italian city-states developed a number of institutions and practices that still exist: (1) They introduced a system of permanent ambassadors who represented the interests of their states by observing, reporting, and negotiating. (2) Each state created a foreign office that evaluated the written reports of the ambassadors, sent instructions, helped to formulate policies, and kept vast records. (3) Together they developed an elaborate system of protocol, privileges, and immunities for diplomats. Ambassadors and their staffs were granted freedom of access, transit, and exit at all times. Local laws could not be used to impede an ambassador in carrying out duties, but ambassadors could be held accountable if they actually committed crimes, such as theft or murder. (4) The concept of extraterritoriality was established. Under this principle, an embassy in any state stood on the soil of its own homeland, and anyone or anything within the embassy compound was subject only to the laws of its own country.

The rise of nation-states in 17th-century Europe led to the development of the concepts of national interest and the balance of power. The former concept meant that the diplomatic objectives of nations should be based on state interests and not on personal ambition, rivalries, sentiment, religious doctrine, or prejudice. For example, gaining access to raw materials was in the national interest. The balance of power theory was based on a general interest in maintaining the state system by seeking equilibrium of power among the most powerful nations. That diplomacy could be used to pursue both sets of interests was soon apparent. Increasingly, the presence of the major powers became a staple in international politics. Although small countries might disappear, as Poland did when it was partitioned in the 18th century, the great powers sought to manage their relations without threatening one another’s survival. At the same time, European diplomats were becoming increasingly professional and learned. The seamier side of diplomacy—the bribing, lying, and deceiving—was gradually replaced by a code of expected and acceptable conduct.

The European system of diplomacy suffered its first shock when Napoleon attempted to conquer Europe in the early 19th century. After Napoleon’s defeat, the European system was “restored,” and no major wars occurred for the next hundred years.

In 1914 the countries of Europe were thrust into another violent confrontation. The carnage of World War I brought the European system of diplomacy into disrepute. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was the chief critic of the European diplomatic system and the proponent of a new type of open diplomacy and collective security. Wilson’s primary targets were the theory and practice of the balance of power, the distinction between great and small powers, the pursuit of national interests, secret agreements and treaties, and professional diplomats.

In place of the old system Wilson offered a “new diplomacy” in his Fourteen Points. Open covenants would be drafted in international conferences with great and small countries participating on an equal basis. Peace would be maintained by making national boundaries coincide with ethnic boundaries. All members of the international community would pledge to fight for these boundaries against any nation that used force to change them. Countries would pursue community interests instead of national interests and submit their disputes with each other to international arbitration for peaceful resolution.

Many of Wilson’s ideas were incorporated into the 1919 Treaty of Versailles (see Versailles, Treaty of) and the League of Nations. After the United States rejected the league and returned to a policy of isolationism, however, the European states reverted to the balance of power system and the pursuit of national interests through professional diplomats.

How the US Uses Diplomacy

Supplemented by military strength along with economic and political influence, the United States depends on diplomacy as the primary means of achieving its foreign policy goals.

Within the U.S. federal government, the presidential Cabinet-level Department of State has primary responsibility for conducting international diplomatic negotiations.

Using the best practices of diplomacy, the ambassadors and other representatives of the Department of State work to achieve the agency’s mission to “shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.”

State Department diplomats represent the interests of the United States in a diverse and rapidly-evolving field of multi-national discussions and negotiations involving issues such as cyber warfare, climate change, sharing outer space, human trafficking, refugees, trade, and unfortunately, war and peace.

While some areas of negotiation, such as trade agreements, offer changes for both sides to benefit, more complex issues involving the interests of multiple nations or those that are particularly sensitive to one side or the other can make reaching an agreement more difficult. For U.S. diplomats, the requirement for Senate approval of agreements further complicates negotiations by limiting their room to maneuver.

According to the Department of State, the two most important skills diplomats need are a complete understanding of the U.S. view on the issue and an appreciation of the culture and interests of the foreign diplomats involved. “On multilateral issues, diplomats need to understand how their counterparts think and express their unique and differing beliefs, needs, fears, and intentions,” notes the Department of State.

Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

Links to the Secretary of State and Department of State, as well as other sites related to foreign policy issues. See Bibliography of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations Resources for a selection of related materials in ALIC.

ALIC resources

ALIC's Online Public Access Catalog
Use ALIC's catalog to search for print resources available in the Archives Library Information Center.

ArchivesUnbound Available in the Archives Library Information Center.
Digitized collections of NARA records, available on Gale's ArchivesUnbound platform:

  • Afghanistan and the U.S, 1945-1963: Records of the U.S. State Department Central Classified Files
  • Ambassador Graham Martin and the Saigon Embassy's Back Channel Communication Files, 1963-1975
  • Indochina, France, and the Viet Minh War, 1945-1954: Records of the U.S. State Department, Part 1: 1945-1949
  • Japan at War and Peace, 1930-1949: U.S. State Department Records on the Internal Affairs of Japan
  • Political Relations and Conflict between Republican China and Imperial Japan, 1930-1939: Records of the U.S. State Department
  • The Chinese Civil War and U.S.-China Relations: Records of the U.S. State Department's Office of Chinese Affairs, 1945-1955
  • Tiananmen Square and U.S.-China relations, 1989-1993
  • U.S. Middle East Peace Policy and America's Role in the Middle East Peace Process, 1991-1992
  • U.S. Relations and Policies in Southeast Asia, 1944-1958: Records of the Office of Southeast Asian Affairs
  • World War II, Occupation, and the Civil War in Greece, 1940-1949: Records of the U.S. State Department Classified Files

Digital National Security Archive Available in the Archives Library Information Center.
Collections of declassified U.S. government documents from 1945 to the present, on topics such as the Berlin Crisis, the Vietnam War, and U.S. relations with Chile, Colombia, Japan, Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico, South Africa, and other countries.

U.S. Declassified Documents Online Available in the Archives Library Information Center.
Provides online access to over 500,000 pages of previously classified government documents covering major international events from the Cold War to the Vietnam War and beyond.

HeinOnline Available in the Archives Library Information Center.
Commercial resource of legal materials, including U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements and full-text of various Department of State publications.

America: History and Life Available in the Archives Library Information Center.
Commercial resource offers citations, full-text, and ebooks on all aspects of U. S history, including diplomatic and foreign relations. Includes titles such as Diplomacy & Statecraft.

ProQuest Research Library Available in the Archives Library Information Center.
This broad resource includes citations and full-text articles on this topic.

NARA Resources

U.S. Foreign Policy Research
An introduction and guide to foreign policy research at NARA.

"American Film Propaganda in Revolutionary Russia"
This Prologue article by James D. Startt discusses American propaganda efforts during World War I.

"Diplomacy and Duels on the High Seas: Littleton Waller Tazewell and the Challenge of HMS Euryalus"
Stuart Butler's Prologue article about a planned battle between two ships are upset by the outbreak of peace in the War of 1812.

"The Diplomats Who Sank a Fleet: The Confederacy's Undelivered European Fleet and the Union Consular Service"
Kevin J. Foster recounts how a small group of State Department employees worked to prevent the Confederacy from acquiring all the ships it needed in this Prologue article.

Foreign Affairs and International Topics
Guidance for locating NARA records dealing with foreign affairs and diplomacy.

Foreign Policy Community
Information about Department of State and Associated Agency Records at NARA.

Gifts of State
This page from NARA's Tokens and Treasures exhibit presents images and descriptions of a selection of gifts presented by foreign heads of state to U.S. presidents.

"Letters from the Middle Kingdom: The Origins of America's China Policy"
David Gedalecia's Prologue article about the 1834 observations on the U.S. role in China made by John Shillaber, who hoped to become consul to China.

"'No Little Historic Value:' The Records of Department of State Posts in Revolutionary Russia"
In this Prologue article, David A. Langbart describes how war, revolution, and natural disaster took their toll on U.S. embassy and consular records.

"'Tear Down This Wall:' How Top Advisers Opposed Reagan's Challenge to Gorbachev - But Lost"
Peter Robinson's Prologue article about the writing of Ronald Reagan's most notable foreign policy speech.

Other Resources

Department of State
The State Department's official web site. It offers links to information about and issues concerning the Department.

Secretary of State
Current events and issues concerning the Secretary of State.

Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST)
This organization "advances understanding of American diplomacy and supports training of foreign affairs personnel."

Council on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations is an independent think tank concerned with foreign policy. Included among the various resources is Backgrounders, which consists of articles that explain complex foreign policy issues in simplified form.

Diplomacy and Foreign Policy
The Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress has an extensive collection of diplomatic correspondence.

The Electronic Embassy
Information on all of the embassies of Washington, D.C., as well as business directories, news, and resources.

Foreign Affairs Oral History Project
This site contains a finding aid for Georgetown University Library's Foreign Affairs Oral History Project.

Foreign Policy Association
The mission of this organization is "to serve as a catalyst for developing awareness, understanding, and informed opinion on U.S. foreign policy and global issues."

Foreign Relations of the U.S. (FRUS)
State Department page that describes FRUS, gives information about accessing the material, and some related links. Volumes published since 1945 are available online from the State Department. Full-text volumes of FRUS from 1861-1960 are offered by the University of Wisconsin Libraries in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago Libraries. There are gaps in this collection that are being filled in as missing volumes are acquired. The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School also offers selected material from the Foreign Relations of the United States.

House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs
This site provides news, statements, and information about issues, hearings and actions, and legislation.

Bureau of Global Public Affairs
This site is maintained by the Department of State. It contains information on America, democracy, human rights, civic affairs, economic growth and development, science and technology, health, and the environment.

Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations
This website from the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Historian "provides a general overview of the history of U.S. engagement with the world through short essays on important moments, or milestones, in the diplomatic history of the United States."

The National Security Archive
Hosted by the George Washington University's Gelman Library, the National Security Archive maintains an extensive archive of declassified U.S. documents, some of which are available online.

PolicyArchive: International Relations
A digital archive of public policy research created by the Center for Governmental Studies. This page deals with International Relations.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Information about the activities of the Committee, including hearings, publications, treaties, and legislation.

Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations
Website for SHAFR, with information on the annual meeting and links to Diplomatic History and Passport.

A Short History of the Department of State
This State Department website traces the history of American foreign affairs from the Revolutionary War era through the end of the Cold War.

Timeline of U.S. Diplomatic History
An interactive chronology provided by the U.S. Department of State.

U.S. Department of State Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
In addition to information about the Department's FOIA program, this site also includes the Virtual Reading Room where users can search for documents or browse the Document Collections.

U.S. Department of State: Office of the Historian
The purpose of the State Department’s Office of the Historian website is to provide better access to official historical documentary records of U.S. foreign policy. Available on the site are historical documents, information about diplomatic history with various countries, history of U.S. foreign relations, and more.

This page was last reviewed on June 10, 2021.
Contact us with questions or comments.

February 2021 | Prehistory: The birth of diplomacy and early "technologies"

Read the summary and watch the recording of our masterclass session Prehistory: the birth of diplomacy and early 'technologies! Listen to the podcast interview with Prof. Frans de Waal, and browse the list of resources related to the topic.

Many anthropological studies found early attempts of solving conflicts peacefully through negotiations. Most likely, the main shift, what Jared Diamond calls the 'great leap forward', took place somewhere between the Neanderthal, who inhabited modern-day Germany 100,000 years ago, and the Cro-Magnon man, who lived 40,000 years ago in modern-day southern France. The difference between their skeletons, the tools they used, and the artworks they created, shows that something significant happened in this period. In addition to war and conflict, they used different ways and means for solving conflicts.

Read the summary and watch the recording of our masterclass session Prehistory: the birth of diplomacy and early 'technologies! Listen to the podcast interview with Prof. Frans de Waal, and browse the list of resources related to the topic.

Many anthropological studies found early attempts of solving conflicts peacefully through negotiations. Most likely, the main shift, what Jared Diamond calls the 'great leap forward', took place somewhere between the Neanderthal, who inhabited modern-day Germany 100,000 years ago, and the Cro-Magnon man, who lived 40,000 years ago in modern-day southern France. The difference between their skeletons, the tools they used, and the artworks they created, shows that something significant happened in this period. In addition to war and conflict, they used different ways and means for solving conflicts.

Two main developments influenced prehistoric diplomacy. The first was the emergence of language and speech as the main instruments of communication (i.e. with increased and more diverse communication, the likelihood of solving problems without confrontation increased), and the second was the emergence of societal organisations in various forms of cohabitation such as clans and tribes. Tribes interacted with other tribes through both conflict and cooperation. The first negotiations and search for compromise appeared in this period. The emergence of the spoken language opened new paths for innovation and the development of human society. Language facilitated communication in early societies and increased the potential for feeling empathy and finding peaceful solutions to conflicts.

In sedentary communities, our distant predecessors began settling down in one place and occupying particular pieces of land. Some had more fertile land and better life than others which led to an interplay between cooperation and confrontation. The continuum of war and peace started shaping human history, which has continued until this day.

The main building blocks of diplomacy emerged in this period: tribes and clans needed representations they negotiated and coexisted in both peaceful and violent times.

Historians have found proof of the institution of privileges and immunities among the Australian aborigines as well as in the Institutes of Manu (Hindu codes from around 1500 BC). As Harold Nicholson wrote, 'no negotiation could reach a satisfactory conclusion if the emissaries of either party were murdered on arrival. Thus, the first principle to become firmly established was that of diplomatic immunity.'

Through marriages, intertribal bonds and alliances were created. There are many archaeological materials showing the importance of diplomacy in prehistory. Most of them were found in the research of rituals and ceremonies of early diplomatic encounters among tribes and clans. One of the traditions that can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia is the donation of gifts by representatives of one tribe to another when entering the territory of the other tribe.

General Overviews

General overviews of the history of diplomacy, not surprisingly, tend to be historically oriented, although a number of studies especially recommend themselves to students of international relations. Undergraduates and graduate students, as well as veteran scholars, will find a wealth of ideas, insights, and possible research topics in these surveys. De Souza and France 2008 is an excellent starting point for new students in ancient and medieval diplomacy. Eleven well-written, wide-ranging, and accessible essays provide a solid grounding in the period, while also highlighting the many parallels and divergences between ancient and modern diplomacy. Designed primarily for undergraduates, Anderson 1993 is an excellent chronological and thematic introduction to early modern and modern diplomacy. Hamilton and Langhorne 1995 takes a similar approach, outlining the evolution of modern diplomatic practice from the ancient period to the modern, primarily for an undergraduate audience. Berridge, et al. 2001 adopts a similar chronology, but focuses instead on the major diplomatic theorists from Machiavelli to Kissinger. For an introduction to 19th- and 20th-century diplomacy, Kissinger 1994 is a lucid place to begin, combining a solid grasp of history with the author’s own personal experiences. Keylor 2005 is another excellent overview of 20th-century international relations that expertly introduces the student to every important diplomatic event of the period. Those seeking a more theoretical approach to the subject will find Lauren 1979 and Barston 2006 easily accessible, expansive, and stimulating introductory readers.

Anderson, Matthew S. The Rise of Modern Diplomacy, 1450–1919. New York: Longman, 1993.

Broad and well-written collection of thematic and chronological chapters on history of early modern and modern diplomacy. Aimed at undergraduates. Topics range from ancien régime diplomacy to aspirations of international peace to balance of power diplomacy. Very helpful survey for beginning researchers useful insights for veteran researchers. Valuable bibliographical essay.

Barston, Ronald P. Modern Diplomacy. 3d ed. New York: Longman, 2006.

Essential theoretical introduction to development of diplomatic practice and diplomatic institutions. Informative and cogent chapters on negotiation, diplomacy and finance, commerce and diplomacy, mediation, treaties, and terrorism. Useful case studies. Especially noteworthy for occasional inclusion of pertinent diplomatic correspondence. Particularly suitable for undergraduates and beginning graduate students.

Berridge, G. R., Maurice Keens-Soper, and T. G. Otte. Diplomatic Theory from Machiavelli to Kissinger. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

Nine very useful essays on key diplomatic theorists from the Renaissance to the modern era. Includes lucid and thoughtful essays on Machiavelli, Grotius, Richelieu, Satow, Nicolson, and Kissinger. Historians and international-relations scholars of all periods and experience will find much to appreciate here.

De Souza, Philip, and John France, eds. War and Peace in Ancient and Medieval History. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Engaging introduction to diplomacy in the ancient and medieval periods. Collection of eleven lucid essays covering Greek, Persian, Roman, Byzantine, and Anglo-Saxon diplomacy. Focus on treaties, peacemaking, and war. Also useful for historians of modern diplomacy. Suitable for undergraduates, with new insights for graduate students and experienced researchers.

Hamilton, Keith, and Richard Langhorne. The Practice of Diplomacy: Its Evolution, Theory and Administration. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Short, solid introduction to development of diplomatic practice. Especially suitable for international-relations undergraduates and survey courses. Overly brief treatment of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance diplomacy. Non-European examples also require more attention. Stronger on 19th- and 20th-century European diplomacy.

Keylor, William R. The Twentieth Century World and Beyond: An International History Since 1900. 5th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Excellent, reliable, and comprehensive overview of 20th-century international relations. Unusually lucid and cogent introductory text that covers every important diplomatic event of the period. Undergraduates and graduate students in particular will find it stimulating and coherent, and will benefit from its broad and wide-ranging approach.

Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.

Classic study of modern diplomacy, with particular emphasis on the 20th century. Especially interesting, albeit often opinionated, insights from the author’s own experience. Focuses almost exclusively on geopolitics. Eminently readable, characteristically provocative and authoritative. Important starting point for both international-relations scholars and historians of all levels.

Lauren, Paul Gordon, ed. Diplomacy: New Approaches in History, Theory, and Policy. New York: Free Press, 1979.

Slightly dated but nevertheless important attempt to bridge historical and theoretical studies of diplomacy. Concerned partly with improving interdisciplinary communication and partly with the uses of history in policy making. Essays consider quantitative approaches, crisis decision making, bureaucratic politics, coercive diplomacy, and alliances.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

Modern Day Vaccine and Vaccine Science Diplomacy

Beginning in 2000, vaccines became integrated as key tools in helping developing nations achieve their MDGs and targets. Following the launch of the GAVI Alliance, many developing countries for the first time gained access to vaccines for combating rotavirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), and a new vaccine for pneumococcal vaccine was developed [39], [40]. Partly because of these interventions, child mortality was reduced by almost one-half [40]. Included among these activities was GAVI's important work in providing vaccines for North Korea and other fragile states [41].

Among the initiatives relevant to vaccine diplomacy in the 21st century are international efforts to ensure universal or equitable access for low- and middle-income countries to urgently needed vaccines for diseases of pandemic potential. It was noted that many developing countries were on the “outside looking in” when it came to having access to influenza vaccines, including the vaccine for the H1N1 pandemic influenza in 2009 and prototype H5N1 avian influenza vaccines [42], [43]. As a result, Indonesia went through a period in which it refused to share timely influenza surveillance data with the WHO [42]. It was noted that IHR 2005 did not adequately spell out provisions on providing equitable access for vaccines [43], and it was probably not intended for this purpose. In 2009, an Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) was held on pandemic influenza preparedness as a means to establish a framework for sharing influenza and other vaccines with developing countries [43]. Issues of developing country access again arose when cholera emerged in sub-Saharan Africa and Haiti there was no mechanism to rapidly mobilize cholera vaccine, and calls went out to stockpile cholera vaccine as a humanitarian and diplomatic resource [44]. Also, in 2008 when yellow fever vaccine supplies were depleted during the first urban yellow fever outbreak in the Americas in decades, countries neighboring Paraguay helped to ensure that the vaccine was made available in that country [45]. In 2012, following the earlier launch of the Decade of Vaccines Collaboration [46], the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) was endorsed by the 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly as “a framework to prevent millions of deaths by 2020 through more equitable access to existing vaccines for people in all communities” [47]. A World Health Assembly resolution was adopted that recognizes access to vaccines as a fundamental right to human health [48]. The diplomatic community was also called on to address critical issues of noncompliance for polio and other vaccines intended for vulnerable populations living in Islamic countries. In 2003, a boycott of polio vaccinations in three northern Nigerian states from fears that the vaccine was contaminated with antifertility drugs (in order to sterilize Muslim girls) necessitated diplomatic intervention from the Government of Malaysia and the OIC [49]. Similar interventions are now required in Pakistan, where the Taliban and other extremist groups have assassinated vaccinators and other aid workers [50]. Some assassinations may have been carried out in retaliation for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)'s alleged role in establishing a fake vaccination campaign in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as a ruse in order to confirm the identity of members of Osama bin Laden's family [51]. Such activities represent a significant setback to vaccine diplomacy.

Of relevance to both vaccine and vaccine science diplomacy, in 2007 under the auspices of the WHO and the Global Pandemic Influenza Action Plan, six countries—Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, and Vietnam—received grants from the US and Japanese governments to establish in-country manufacturing capacity for influenza vaccines [52].

Diplomacy - History

One notable exception involved the relationship between the Pope and the Byzantine Emperor. Papal agents, called apocrisiarii, were permanently resident in Constantinople. After the 8th century, however, conflicts between the Pope and the Emperor (such as the Iconoclastic controversy) led to the breaking down of these close ties.

Modern diplomacy's origins are often traced to the states of Northern Italy in the early Renaissance, with the first embassies being established in the thirteenth century. Milan played a leading role, especially under Francesco Sforza who established permanent embassies to the other cities states of Northern Italy. It was in Italy that many of the traditions of modern diplomacy began, such as the presentation of an ambassador's credentials to the head of state.

The practice spread from Italy to the other European powers. Milan was the first to send a representative to the court of France in 1455. Milan however refused to host French representatives fearing espionage and possible intervention in internal affairs. As foreign powers such as France and Spain became increasingly involved in Italian politics the need to accept emissaries was recognized. Soon all the major European powers were exchanging representatives. Spain was the first to send a permanent representative when it appointed an ambassador to the Court of England in 1487. By the late 16th century, permanent missions became the standard.

Many of the conventions of modern diplomacy developed during this period. The top rank of representatives was an ambassador. An ambassador at this time was almost always a nobleman - the rank of the noble varied with the prestige of the country he was posted to. Defining standards emerged for ambassadors, requiring that they have large residences, host lavish parties, and play an important role in the court life of the host nation. In Rome, the most important post for Catholic ambassadors, the French and Spanish representatives sometimes maintained a retinue of up to a hundred people. Even in smaller posts, ambassadors could be very expensive. Smaller states would send and receive envoys who were one level below an ambassador.

Ambassadors from each state were ranked by complex codes of precedence that were much disputed. States were normally ranked by the title of the sovereign for Catholic nations the emissary from the Vatican was paramount, then those from the kingdoms, then those from duchies and principalities. Representatives from republics were considered the lowest envoys.

Ambassadors at that time were nobles with little foreign or diplomatic experience and needed to be supported by a large embassy staff. These professionals were sent on longer assignments and were far more knowledgeable about the host country. Embassy staff consisted of a wide range of employees, including some dedicated to espionage. The need for skilled individuals to staff embassies was met by the graduates of universities, and this led to an increase in the study of international law, modern languages, and history at universities throughout Europe.

At the same time, permanent foreign ministries were established in almost all European states to coordinate embassies and their staffs. These ministries were still far from their modern form. Many had extraneous internal responsibilities. Britain had two departments with frequently overlapping powers until 1782. These early foreign ministries were also much smaller. France, which boasted the largest foreign affairs department, had only 70 full-time employees in the 1780s.

The elements of modern diplomacy slowly spread to Eastern Europe and arrived in Russia by the early eighteenth century. The entire system was greatly disrupted by the French Revolution and the subsequent years of warfare. The revolution would see commoners take over the diplomacy of the French state, and of those conquered by revolutionary armies. Ranks of precedence were abolished. Napoleon also refused to acknowledge diplomatic immunity, imprisoning several British diplomats accused of scheming against France. He had no patience for the often slow moving process of formal diplomacy.

Public Diplomacy throughout U.S. History

Although "public diplomacy" is a relatively new concept, having been coined by Edmund Gullion in the 1960s, the practice itself has been around for centuries. Since the United States' inception, the government has used public diplomacy to engage with other countries. A new book by Caitlin E. Schindler, The Origins of Public Diplomacy in U.S. Statecraft, explores the history of public diplomacy in the United States, looking at six case studies from 1776 to 1948. According to the author, "[e]ach case looks specifically at the role foreign public engagement plays in American statecraft, while also identifying trends in American foreign public engagement and making connections between past practice of foreign public engagement and public diplomacy, and analyzing how trends and past practice or experience influenced modern American public diplomacy."

The Origins of Public Diplomacy in U.S. Statecraft is part of the Palgrave Macmillan Series in Public Diplomacy and is available for either e-book or hardcover purchase on the Springer website.

Russian Disinformation and U.S. Public Diplomacy

Russian disinformation campaigns are a hot topic these days, but fake news emanating from Moscow is hardly a new phenomenon for U.S. public diplomacy. However, the same phenomena that have allowed the Russian infowar to.

Making the Case for U.S. Public Diplomacy

The CPD Advisory Board's position paper asserts that public diplomacy is America's best foreign policy tool. To download a PDF of this paper, click here. At a time when disinformation and fake news too often.

Recent headlines about the State Department have been filled with drama and intrigue. While important, these accounts overshadow the important, day-to-day efforts responsible for building direct and productive relationships.

Public Opinion & the Demise of U.S. Public Diplomacy in Libya

At the end of his term, President Obama stated that one of his greatest foreign policy regrets was not doing more to "follow up" in Libya after the 2011 intervention that helped Libyan rebels topple Muammar al.

The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training

ADST is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1986. It advances knowledge of U.S. diplomacy and supports training of personnel at the State Department's George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, where it is located.

ADST's activities include programs in diplomatic oral history, book publication, exhibits, research, and training of student interns. It also sponsors the U.S. Diplomacy.org Web site. For more information about ADST, see www.adst.org External . Tables of Contents for the interviews can be found at www.adst.org/oral-history/oral-history-interviews/ External .


A History of Diplomacy is an instructional package providing an overview of American diplomacy as it evolved from the colonial period through the present day. The video is presented in two parts: the first half ends with World War II, while the second half spans the period 1945 through the present day.

This package also includes the video script, a timeline, glossary, suggested lessons and extension activities, website links, and other support material. Lessons focus on history, civics, geography, economics, and culture, and support the thematic curriculum strands of Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies of the National Council for the Social Studies. Lessons and support materials were also designed to promote the literacy emphasis of “No Child Left Behind” by including oral, written, and visual communication activities.

These instructional materials were designed to provide a high degree of flexibility for classroom teachers. The video can be viewed in its entirety or in segments, and can be used to stimulate classroom discussion, as an introduction to a series of lessons on the topic, or as an overview of the topic of diplomacy. The video and print materials may constitute a complete instructional unit, or individual elements may be incorporated into existing units. The lessons and materials support American history, government, or modern world history courses.

Teachers are encouraged to enhance the content of this package with other instructional materials and information sources such as textbooks, newspapers, television, and the Internet. Suggestions for using additional resources are included with a number of the lessons. Teachers are encouraged to modify suggested lessons and other materials in ways that are appropriate for their students, courses, and other local circumstances.

Print materials in the package are provided in black-on-white format. They may be easily reproduced by electronic copying, or scanned into computer files to enable teachers to customize materials for their own classrooms. Some websites in the list of resources may have copyright restrictions, and teachers are advised to review and abide by those restrictions. All materials in this print package produced by the Department of State may be reproduced and disseminated without specific permission.


  1. Des

    I apologise, but, in my opinion, you commit an error. I can prove it. Write to me in PM, we will talk.

  2. Ranier

    Very good!

  3. Bashakar

    I do not agree with what is written in your first paragraph. Where did you get this information from?

  4. Herschel

    Authoritative message :), fun ...

  5. Zulurn

    No, opposite.

Write a message