This seminar surveys the theoretical and empirical literature on the influence of domestic politics on foreign policy and international politics with a primary though not exclusive emphasis on American foreign policy. Scholars have long recognized that domestic politics influences states' decision making in international trade and finance. Yet in recent years we have witnessed an explosion of interest in understanding the linkage between domestic politics and international relations more broadly including the decidedly high politics arena of war and peace. We review a variety of theoretical perspectives concerning both international economics and international security ranging from the role of individuals and individual psychology to the influence of interest groups political institutions the mass media and public opinion. The goal is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of domestic political explanations for policy outcomes in foreign policy and international affairs.
Harvard Division of Continuing Education