Covert Operations as a Tool of Presidential Foreign Policy in American History From 1800 to 1920

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This volume employs a series of historical case studies of early American covert actions to support an analysis of the evolution of this instrument of presidential foreign policy over the first 120 years of American under the Constitution. It offers a series of Vignettes of selected covert actions undertaken by presidents from Jefferson to Wilson. It explores how presidential personalities and the changing political environment shaped the evolution of covert action as a tool, and provides insight into how American leaders came to reconcile the inconsistencies between government by the people and secret undertakings by the executive branch.

“Dr. Carter has provided an important contribution to the historical study of intelligence. Works like his on intelligence are important references because they draw light on operations and events that were, by necessity, originally shrouded in secrecy. I highly recommend this book for the student of American history as well as those involved in the study of intelligence-related statecraft. . . . The bibliography and references are excellent and are valuable information sources I themselves.” – Wayne Madsen, author of Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa


“. . . added to our knowledge of both famous presidents such as Jefferson, Jackson, and Lincoln, and obscure presidents including John Tyler, Benjamin Harrison, and Chester Allan Arthur. . . . the outstanding quality of Dr. Carter’s analysis strengthened his work immeasurably. Much of the book’s excellence can be traced to the interdisciplinary approach Dr. Carter used. Although he is a political scientist by training, Dr. Carter relied not only on his own discipline, but on history, biography, and psychology as well to present the context within which the covert operations he described could be better understood. . . .Not the least of Covert Operations’s strengths is Dr. Carter’s writing style. He presented his facts and conclusions with a clear, direct and powerful style which did justice to the drama inherent in the subject matter and made his work accessible to any intelligent reader. His clarity of exposition, combined with the importance of his subject matter and the imagination, rigor, and integrity with which it was researched, helped produce an example of political writing at its finest.” – Malcolm L. Cross

“A careful reading of this book not only reveals the political development of covert activities but also provides a tool which the reader may use to determine whether there is any logical connection between those past activities and alleged contemporary intelligence excesses. Superbly written, this cogent treatment of controversial presidential activities is a valuable addition to the literature on the uses of power.” – James V. Young

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Covert Action: Foreign Policy in the Shadows
Understanding the Dynamics of Covert Action
Covert Actions of the Thomas Jefferson Administration, 1801-1809
Covert Actions of the James Madison Administration, 1809-1817
Agent of Influence Operations in the James Monroe and John Quincy Adams Administrations, 1817-1829
Andrew Jackson and the Expanded Role of Diplomatic Agents of Influence, 1829-1837
Covert Action Comes Home: John Tyler’s Propaganda Operation in Maine, 1841-1842
Covert Action and Westward expansion in the Polk Administration, 1845-1849
Covert Action and A House Divided: Propaganda Operations in the Lincoln Administration, 1861-1865
The End of the Beginning: the Establishment of the Covert Option in the Early Republic
Covert Action in the Grant Administration, 1869-1877
Covert Actions in the Arthur Administration, 1881-1885
Covert Actions in the Benjamin Harrison Administration, 1889-1893
Covert Actions in the William McKinley Administration, 1897-1901
Covert Action in the Theodore Roosevelt Administration
Covert Action in the Wilson Administration
Conclusions; Bibliography; Index

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