American Foreign Policy

Explore the principles that have guided America’s foreign policy.

We often treat foreign policy as a mystery that can only be understood by an enlightened few who have committed their lives to understanding the complexities of international life.  

This view is dangerous because it encourages citizens to ignore a critical aspect of American political life that it’s our duty to understand. And it’s false because the basics of foreign policy are commonsense and a joy to learn.  

For the Founders, the basic premise of foreign policy is simple—we must make every decision with a view towards securing the equal, natural rights of American citizens. This understanding requires that America’s leaders remain accountable to the people, and it places essential limits on our interventions abroad. 

Yet, for over a century, this traditional understanding of American foreign policy has been challenged by new and more ambitious doctrines that argue for increased American involvement and leadership abroad. 

In our newest free online course, “American Foreign Policy,” Michael Anton, lecturer in politics at Hillsdale College and member of the National Security Council staff in both the George W. Bush and Donald Trump administrations, examines the key events and principles of America’s foreign policy. 

In this course, you’ll learn about: 

  • the principles that guided the foreign policy of the American Founders. 
  • the importance of the Monroe Doctrine in shaping the foreign policy of the early Republic. 
  • the new, Progressive understanding of foreign policy that dominated the United States from the Spanish-American War through World War I.
  • the foreign policy debates during the interwar period. 
  • the formulation of America’s Cold War foreign policy and the growth of America’s military and intelligence bureaucracy.
  • the aims of the Global War on Terrorism and how today’s foreign policy departs from the understanding of the Founding.

The course includes nine lectures you can watch at your own pace and schedule. You’ll receive a completion certificate for the course by watching the lecture videos, submitting a short quiz after each lecture, and passing a course test at the end.  

The course aims to provide a framework to analyze and understand the matters of war and peace that affect all of us.  

Enroll in “American Foreign Policy” by entering your email below.

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What students say

The presenter, Michael Anton, is excellent! Obviously has a handle on the subject matter as well as surrounding history. He keeps the lectures focused on Foreign Policy, yet it able to pull in gold nuggets of current history to keep us chronologically grounded. I am enjoying this class so much! I have to be careful not to ignore my other responsibilities of life. Learning a LOT!

– Debbie

Provides a better understanding in American Foreign Policy for those that may not be involved or familiar with the history of what our forefathers intended to where we are today with our current policies. 

– Kristie

This course provides very fascinating insights of US foreign policy rarely discussed in traditional universities. 

– Mark