Website Review

The Foreign Relations of the United States Series

Department of State - Office of the Historian

The Foreign Relations of the United States series contains the transcriptions of historical documents related to significant official U.S. foreign relations events. This series is curated and produced by the Office of the Historian and it counts with over 480 volumes accumulated since 1861 beginning with documents produced during Abraham Lincoln's presidency. The collection contains "documents from the Presidential libraries, Departments of State and Defense, National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency, Agency for International Development, and other foreign affairs agencies as well as the private papers of individuals involved in implementing U.S. foreign policy" and it continues to be updated as records become declassified.

The series are organized chronologically by Presidential administrations, geographically and topically which allows users to narrow the focus of their search. The landing page takes the user into the Historical Documents divided by Presidential administration, this feature is useful in social studies and civics classes that concentrate in particular presidents and their foreign relations policies. The collection is extensive so having a specific topic or material would provide better results. It is recommended to conduct searches using key words and filtering by dates. For example, a search using the word "emancipation" produces 605 results that lead to thousands of individual entries across the Office of the Historian website. To filter the search further you must select the Historical Documents section and then filter by date. The search seems cumbersome, but the site offers other options like the Browse Resources by Subject Tag that can be explored by people, places, topics or by looking at the full tag taxonomy. The site used to provide Educational Resources, but this function was discontinued in 2017, however the materials created until then are still available for exploration.

The Office of the Historian - Foreign Relations of the United States Series works best in academic settings as a supplementary tool. Given that they provide transcriptions of primary sources the user would benefit from the wide array of documents that can be explored based on single topics or events, for example all documents available related to the signing of a specific treaty can include foreign correspondence, presidential addresses to congress and international institutions, memorandums, judicial documents, drafts, and other documents. Additionally, the Office of the Historian offers research assistance by email and phone.

Reviewed by Luz Adriana Giraldo Mueller, George Mason University

How to Cite This Source

"The Foreign Relations of the United States Series," in in World History Commons, https://worldhistorycommons.org/foreign-relations-united-states-series [accessed April 15, 2024]
Logo of the Office of the Historian with the title of the Foreign Relations Series using a background depicting old books.
“The Foreign Relations of the United States series contains the transcriptions of historical documents related to significant official U.S. foreign relations events. ”