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

Takes the student through the full context of the course subject matter. Wonderful insight into how we strayed and its consequences and offers a solution.

– Don

It's refreshing listening to ideas and thoughts that would be discussed in a classroom setting.  It's been quite a few years since I have been in that type of setting.  It's nice to be back.  It gets the creative juices running in the brain again.

– Susan

Content is well presented; the students are stellar in their responses and questions. Prof. Arnn does a fabulous job balancing teaching and allowing students to participate. Above all he makes complex ideas easy to understand.

– Hope