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PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, AMERICAN HISTORY ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 29 May 2020

Summary and Keywords

Public opinion has been part of US foreign relations in two key ways. As one would expect in a democracy, the American public has shaped the foreign policy of its government. No less significantly, the United States has sought to influence foreign public opinion as a tool of its diplomacy, now known as public diplomacy. The US public has also been a target of foreign attempts at influence with varying degrees of success. While analysis across the span of US history reveals a continuity of issues and approaches, issues of public opinion gained unprecedented salience in the second decade of the 21st century. This salience was not matched by scholarship.

Keywords: public opinion, propaganda, foreign policy, public diplomacy, soft power

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