United States Department of State

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The United States Department of State (or State Department) is a Cabinet-level agency of the United States government that deals with foreign affairs. The DoS falls under the Secretary of State's administration. Their headquarters is located in the Harry S Truman Building in Washington, DC. The current Secretary of State is Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Its nickname is Foggy Bottom, a reference to its neighborhood in Washington, with a hint of muddled foggyness.

Contents

History

see American foreign policy for a detailed history

Shortly after the Constitution was created it became clear that the President would need an executive department to support his foreign affairs.

On July 21, 1789 the House of Representatives and Senate established a Department of Foreign Affairs. On July 27 of that year, President George Washington signed the legislation into law making the Department of Foreign Affairs the first federal agency. Later that year the name was changed to the present name of Department of State.

Presidential control

The history of American foreign policy shows periods of presidential control and periods where the State Department shaped policy.

The White House ran policy under Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), Woodrow Wilson (1913-21), Franklin Roosevelt (1933-45)[1], Lyndon Johnson (1963-69), Richard Nixon (1969-74), and Ronald Reagan (1981-89).

The State Department was in charge during the presidencies of Warren Harding (1921-23), Calvin Coolidge (1923-29), Herbert Hoover (1929-33), Harry Truman (1945-53)[2] and Dwight Eisenhower (1953-61).

Past Responsibilities

Current Responsibilities

The Department of State develops and implements the President's foreign policy around the world. The DoS also supports other U.S. Government agencies that are active in foreign affairs, such as the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The purpose of the Department of State includes:

  • Protecting and assisting U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad
  • Assisting U.S. business in the international marketplace
  • Coordinating and supporting U.S. agencies in the international activities and official overseas visits.
  • Keeping the public informed about U.S. foreign policy

Further reading

  • Dorman, Shawn. Inside a U.S. Embassy: How the Foreign Service Works for America (2nd ed. 2005) excerpt and text search
  • Findling, John E. ed. Dictionary of American Diplomatic History 2nd ed. 1989. 700pp; 1200 short articles.
  • Flanders, Stephen A, and Carl N. Flanders. Dictionary of American Foreign Affairs (1993) 835 pp, short articles
  • Herring, George C. From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776 (Oxford History of the United States) (2008), 1056pp; the latest survey. excerpt and text search
  • Plischke, Elmer. U.S. Department of State: A Reference History (1999) online edition, a comprehensive history to the present
  • Plischke, Elmer. United States diplomats and their missions: A profile of American diplomatic emissaries since 1778 (1975)


References

  1. During the war Roosevelt worked through Harry Hopkins. In 1939, Secretary Cordell Hull complained, "Roosevelt …doesn't consult me or confide in me and I have to feel my way in the dark." Hull Memoirs of Cordell Hull, (1948), pg. 1227.
  2. Dean Acheson was the main policy maker.

External link

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