chapter  1
14 Pages

FDR's Foreign Policy Persona

The conduct of international affairs is usually a difficult proposition for a democracy, particularly one blessed with the geographic insularity of the United States. Alexis de Tocqueville understood this dilemma only too well when he stated, "Foreign policy does not require the use of any of the good qualities peculiar to democracy bu t does demand . . . almost all of those which it lacks." 1 This problem is alarmingly apparent as war threatens the state, especially large-scale modem conflict that necessitates the involvement of almost all citizens. The fragmentation of power in the American system remains a final impediment. The President and Congress have feuded since the beginning of the Republic for authority in foreign policy. The "Pacificus-Helvidius" debates reveal that the Framers themselves remained divided, and challenges since that time have not ended the controversy.