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Review of From the Old Diplomacy to the New (Book Review Sample)


Book: Robert L. Beisner. From the Old Diplomacy to the New, 1865-1890.
The review must be 3-5 pages in length, typed, and double spaced with standard 1" margins and fonts (10-12 CPI). The review should summarize the author's main argument and evaluate its relevance to the course and textbook. This assignment is worth 100 points. It is due during the 10th week of class.


Review of From the Old Diplomacy to the New, 1865-1900

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Review of From the Old Diplomacy to the New, 1865-1900

Robert L. Beisner in his book, From the Old Diplomacy to the New, 1865-1900, takes the reader through the journey of American diplomacy stretching from the time the French left Mexico to Peking march. He deeply tackles the changes in foreign policy that occurred in America towards the turn of the century. He tries to answer the question of whether the break from the old to new diplomacy was abrupt or the crowning of changes that had occurred over a long period. He also touches on the role of economic growth, party politics, public opinion, foot-dragging by the Senate as well as the influence of tradition in the shift. He shares his perspective on the China market argument, imperialism, the question of a chance against design, as well as continuity of policy. The thesis of his work is the paradigm shift of the old diplomacy (Beisner, 1975).

Under the old paradigm, diplomacy was conducted in response to certain events and incidents. Influence of journalists, missionaries, expansionist thinkers, a new generation, coupled with social depression and malaise resulted in the death of this model and the birth of the new paradigm. This new paradigm was first witnessed in the Americas before spreading to the rest of the world. The new foreign policy and methods of diplomacy served to promote the interests of the United States in a world that had been made dangerous by the new diplomacy. The author clearly argues his case by taking the reader through the changes in American policy in the period between 1865 and 1889, the period that marked the transition to the new paradigm (1889-1897), and new methods and goals of diplomacy at the close of the century (1897-1900).

The book starts by covering the diplomatic themes and issues in the stretch between 1865 and 1900. According to the author, the debate on foreign policy and diplomacy heated up after the Civil War. During the period of the old paradigm of diplomacy, the author argues that the policymakers were generally noninterventionist, isolationists, and unilateralists. Foreign affairs were conducted in a reactive and passive way and the guidance of d

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