A Brief History of U.S. Diplomacy

The pages that follow trace the history of U.S. diplomacy from the first defensive steps of a fledgling nation to the global reach of a superpower. Benjamin Franklin is regarded as America’s first diplomat, and the four men pictured below were its first “ministers of foreign affairs.”

 

Robert R. Livingston, 1781-1783

Robert R. Livingston
Secretary for Foreign Affairs
1781-1783

John Jay, 1784-1790

John Jay
Secretary for Foreign Affairs
1784-1790

Thomas Jefferson, 1790-1793

Thomas Jefferson
Secretary of State
1790-1793

Edmund Randolph, 1794-1795

Edmund Randolph
Secretary of State
1794-1795

 

This section is based on the exhibit, “A Brief History of American Diplomacy,” at the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, which was originally made possible by a grant from Mrs. Jefferson Patterson. It was written by Henry Butterfield Ryan and ADST staff.

A bound print version of the exhibit can be obtained from the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training.