Speaker: Katrina Ponti, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

As the United States emerged as an independent state after the Revolution, it faced the world with a State Department staffed by five clerks and initially led by an absentee Thomas Jefferson. How did the nation secure its place in global affairs with such a small bureaucracy? What was the diplomacy of a democracy supposed to look like?

This seminar will discuss how American citizen diplomats created an early national diplomatic culture to help shape a global environment favorable to U.S. interests. They created a previously unseen type of democratic diplomacy at the beginning of the long nineteenth century. American citizen diplomats of the early republic accomplished this undertaking by disseminating information about the society and culture of the United States; securing new financial and economic opportunities; and creating social and political networks around the world. This seminar offers a new model for understanding how a global and cultural perspective on American diplomatic agency restructured national ideals and defined American foreign policy into the nineteenth century.

Everyone is welcome to join us online via Zoom! Please register in advance for this seminar:

For more information, email the International Security Program Assistant at susan_lynch@harvard.edu.