History 439

18th and 19th Century Contacts

February 1, 2007


I. Strategic Uncertainty

            1. The United States, the Middle East, and the 18th Century World (Euroecentric world: France and Britain as superpowers; US independence and importance of international assistance, U.S. and Western Hemisphere—race, religion, economic ties, intellectual exchange; Ottoman Empire and “imperial overstretch”: European difficulties, Russian and Austrian rivalries; Napoleonic wars and Egypt, difficulties with North Africa)


            2. The Barbary Wars (independence, the Treaty of Paris, and post-independence trade disruptions; early debates and anti-militarist attitudes; the First Party system and the Navy; diplomatic incompetence; Adams and other international difficulties; Jefferson and tension between realism/idealism; Jefferson and presidential power; nature of war and aftermath; growth of British power in the Mediterranean)


            3. The United States Encounters the Ottoman Empire (image of the infidel; origins of Greek revolt; American sympathy and sectional divisions; Adams, presidential ambitions, and origins of Monroe Doctrine; road to commercial treaty; signing of 1831 treaty and secret codicil)


II. Commercial and Cultural Contacts

            1. US Approach to the World (commerce and the Northeastern economy; role of East Asia; United States as counterpoint to Britain; openings to Turkey, Persia, Egypt; limits of US involvement and interest)


            2. Missionaries (the Ottomans and religious minorities; fundraising and the Second Great Awakening; American interest in the Holy Land; emergence of Armenia; significance of Syria; the Chinese temptation)


III. U.S. Withdrawal

            1. Civil War and U.S. Foreign Policy (sectional divisions and constitutional debates; emergence of Congress and turn inwards; U.S. irrelevancy and European imperialism; United States and Armenia—decline of the missionary impulse)


            2. The Path to World War I (Algeciras and looming British-French-German battles; Ottoman crisis—1908 Young Turks, Bosnian annexation; First and Second Balkan Wars and decline of Turkish power; expanding British presence)