Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Lisa Koch

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The purpose of this thesis was to take a deep look into the history of race in American foreign policy in two White House administrations. The presidencies of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Bill Clinton were examined in which the influence of racism in domestic politics was demonstrated as a factor which shaped, and continues to shape, U.S. foreign policy. The research found that 1) segregation, 2) the concept of “primitiveness” formed due to the history between black and white nation-states and 3) the idea of “the other” used by the media and political elite are three manifestations of the consideration of race in Eisenhower’s foreign policy, particularly with respect to Ethiopia. The research also found that 1) American discomfort with white suffering, 2) the normalization of violence in black countries and usage of the term “tribalism,” and 3) the significance of ethno-racial identity all demonstrate the role of race in Clinton’s foreign policy which resulted in the disproportionate political prioritization of the Western Balkans over Rwanda.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.