FROM THE BIRTH of the United States in July 1776 during the American Revolution, certain imperative goals have underlined U.S. foreign policy. The primary objective has always been to defend the United States, its citizens, and its territory from hostile attack. Perhaps only secondary has come the preservation of America's widespread overseas interests and maritime trade, which often have been synonymous.

America's foreign policy has its own left and right spectrum, and on balance it often reflects the ideology in power or office at a given time. This article traces the history of U.S. foreign policy over 200 years, a breadth of policies that more often veer to the conservative side than the liberal. Overall, the United States is a conservative country on the international ...

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