Republicans of Letters: The Early American Foreign Service as Information Network, 1775-1825
Bauer, Jean, Department of History, University of Virginia
Onuf, Peter, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Stagg, John, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
“Republicans of Letters: The Early American Foreign Service as Information Network, 1775 - 1825” re-examines the origins of the U.S. Foreign Service as an information network, constituted by the letters that were exchanged among diplomats, consuls, their friends and family, and their home governments. Thinking about the Foreign Service as an information network, rather than a treaty-generating organization, allows for a reevaluation of the strength and effectiveness of the early American Foreign Service and its role in creating the American State. The dissertation also posits four methodological lenses of history: biography/micro-history, social structure, institutional structure, and geospatial distribution. In order to combine these methodologies, the author built The Early American Foreign Service Database (http://eafsd.org), using a custom-designed data structure and software package which she named Project Quincy (after John Quincy Adams), to model to world of the early American Foreign Service and to permit the quantitative and visual analyses required to study the Foreign Service as a network.
American History, Digital Humanities, Diplomacy, Databases, Network Analysis
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