Every Citizen a Statesman, David Allen
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Every Citizen a Statesman
The Dream of a Democratic Foreign Policy in the American Century

Author: David Allen

Narrator: Lyle Blaker

Unabridged: 10 hr 44 min

Format: Digital Audiobook Download

Published: 03/07/2023


No major arena of US governance is more elitist than foreign policy. International relations barely surface in election campaigns, and policymakers take little input from Congress. For much of the twentieth century, officials, activists, and academics worked to foster an informed public that would embrace participation in foreign policy as a civic duty. Every Citizen a Statesman recounts an abandoned effort to create a democratic foreign policy. Taking the lead alongside the State Department were philanthropic institutions like the Ford and Rockefeller foundations and the Foreign Policy Association, a nonprofit founded in 1918. In cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered in homes and libraries to learn and talk about pressing global issues. But by the 1960s, officials were convinced that strategy in a nuclear world was beyond ordinary people, and foundation support for outreach withered. The local councils increasingly focused on those who were already engaged in political debate and otherwise decried supposed public apathy, becoming a force for the very elitism they set out to combat. The result, David Allen argues, was a chasm between policymakers and the public that has persisted since the Vietnam War, insulating a critical area of decision-making from the will of the people.