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Ukraine and U.S. Foreign Policy Throughout History


The United States’ general foreign policy goals have shifted throughout the centuries as the global landscape and the interest of the United States have evolved. Since the First World War, the role of the United States in global affairs has grown dramatically. What has led to this change? And how have past Presidents communicated their foreign policy aims? Explore the excerpts below to learn more.    



Handout A: Excerpts from George Washington’s Farewell Address 

Handout B: Excerpts from William McKinley’s War Message 

Handout C: The Truman Doctrine Speech 

Handout D: Graphic Organizer



Have students read the three speeches and fill out the graphic organizer and answer the comprehension questions individually. Then lead a classroom discussion of the comprehension questions. 


Comprehension Questions: 

  1. In what ways has the United States’ foreign policy changed over time? In what ways has it stayed the same? 
  1. Is it possible for the United States to simultaneously protect its interests and also promote its values around the world? Why or why not? 
  1. Consider the three speeches and their relation to the current conflict in Ukraine. Choose one of the three Presidents and write down how they might respond to the crisis. 

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