© 2018

The Origins of Public Diplomacy in US Statecraft

Uncovering a Forgotten Tradition


  • Provides a historical view of foreign public engagement and public diplomacy in the United States from 1776-1948

  • Draws on historical knowledge to suggest changes to today's public diplomacy practices

  • Offers a new approach to evaluating and understanding the use of public diplomacy in American statecraft by broadening the understanding and interpretation of diplomacy


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Caitlin E. Schindler
    Pages 1-39
  3. Caitlin E. Schindler
    Pages 41-74
  4. Caitlin E. Schindler
    Pages 75-109
  5. Caitlin E. Schindler
    Pages 111-144
  6. Caitlin E. Schindler
    Pages 145-179
  7. Caitlin E. Schindler
    Pages 181-217
  8. Caitlin E. Schindler
    Pages 219-275
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 315-325

About this book


This book examines historic examples of US public diplomacy in order to understand how past uses and techniques of foreign public engagement evolved into modern public diplomacy as a tool of American statecraft. The study explores six historic cases where the United States’ government or private American citizens actively engaged with foreign publics, starting with the American Revolution in 1776 through the passage of the Smith-Mundt Bill of 1948. Each 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. 


Foreign public engagement public diplomacy US statecraft US history US public diplomacy American Revolution US missionaries Political culture Protestantism liberalism Progressivism Internationalism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of World PoliticsWashingtonUSA

About the authors

Caitlin Schindler is Research Professor at the Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC, USA. 

Bibliographic information


“The book gathers together an impressive amount of archival work as it sifts through the evidence to build its narrative. ... The archival work and historical spread of the book is impressive ... this is a wide-ranging and thought-provoking analysis that provides the basis for a valuable debate on historical trends and institutional developments in US public diplomacy today.” (Giles Scott-Smith, H-Diplo, H-Net Reviews, May, 2018)