Thomas A. Bailey

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Thomas A. Bailey
Thomas Andrew Bailey

(1902-12-14)December 14, 1902
DiedJuly 26, 1983(1983-07-26) (aged 80)
Scientific career
Fields Historian
Doctoral advisor Edgar Eugene Robinson
Other academic advisors Herbert E. Bolton [1]
Doctoral students Raymond G. O'Connor, Betty Miller Unterberger, Alexander DeConde

Thomas Andrew Bailey (December 14, 1902 – July 26, 1983) was a professor of history at his alma mater, Stanford University, and authored many historical monographs on diplomatic history, including the widely used American history textbook, The American Pageant . [2] He was known for his witty style and clever terms he coined, such as "international gangsterism." He popularized diplomatic history with his entertaining textbooks and lectures, the presentation style of which followed Ephraim Douglass Adams. [3] Bailey contended foreign policy was significantly affected by public opinion, and that current policymakers could learn from history.

Alma mater school or university that a person has attended

Alma mater is an allegorical Latin phrase for a university, school, or college that one formerly attended. In US usage, it can also mean the school from which one graduated. The phrase is variously translated as "nourishing mother", "nursing mother", or "fostering mother", suggesting that a school provides intellectual nourishment to its students. Fine arts will often depict educational institutions using a robed woman.

Stanford University Private research university in Stanford, California

Leland Stanford Junior University is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic achievements, wealth, close proximity to Silicon Valley, and selectivity; it ranks as one of the world's top universities.

<i>The American Pageant</i> textbook of United States history

The American Pageant, initially published by Thomas A. Bailey in 1956, is an American high school history textbook often used for AP United States History, AICE American History as well as IB History of the Americas courses. Since Bailey's death in 1983, the book has been updated by historians David M. Kennedy and Lizabeth Cohen, and it is now in its seventeenth edition.



Bailey received his B.A. (1924), M.A. (1925), and Ph.D (1927) from Stanford University, where he was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa. His doctoral work was in U.S. political history. He switched his emphasis towards diplomatic history while teaching at the University of Hawaii. [4] After three years at Hawaii, he taught American history for nearly 40 years at Stanford and also served as a visiting professor at Harvard, Cornell, the University of Washington, and the National War College in Washington, D.C. He retired in 1968.

Phi Beta Kappa Honor society for the liberal arts and sciences in the United States

The Phi Beta Kappa Society (ΦΒΚ) is the oldest academic honor society in the United States, and is often described as its most prestigious honor society, due to its long history and academic selectivity. Phi Beta Kappa aims to promote and advocate excellence in the liberal arts and sciences, and to induct the most outstanding students of arts and sciences at American colleges and universities. It was founded at the College of William and Mary on December 5, 1776 as the first collegiate Greek-letter fraternity and was among the earliest collegiate fraternal societies.

University of Washington Public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States

The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle, Washington.

National War College

The National War College (NWC) of the United States is a school in the National Defense University. It is housed in Roosevelt Hall on Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., the third-oldest Army post still active.

Bailey authored a number of articles in the 1930s that indicated the historical techniques he would use throughout his career. While not groundbreaking, they remain noteworthy for the care with which Bailey systematically overturned received myths about U.S. diplomatic history by a careful reexamination of the underlying sources. [5] His first book was a study of the diplomatic crisis between the United States and Japan during the Theodore Roosevelt administration over racial issues. [6] He delivered the Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic History at Johns Hopkins on the Wilson administration's policy towards neutrals in 1917-1918, later published in 1942. [7] While the theme of the impact of public opinion on the making of foreign policy was a theme through most of his works, he laid it out most clearly in The Man in the Street, published in 1948.

The Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic History are annual lectures delivered at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. The lectures were named after the benefactor, Albert Shaw of New York City who had received his Ph.D from Johns Hopkins University in history and who was editor of The American Review of Reviews. Shaw lecturers over the years have included the following:

Perhaps the harshest attack on Wilson's to diplomacy came from Bailey in two books that remain widely cited by scholars, Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace (1944) and Woodrow Wilson and the Great Betrayal (1945), Bailey:

contended that Wilson's wartime isolationism, as well as his peace proposals at war's end, were seriously flawed. Highlighting the fact that American delegates encountered staunch opposition to Wilson's proposed League of Nations, Bailey concluded that the president and his diplomatic staff essentially sold out, compromising important American ideals to secure mere fragments of Wilson's progressive vision. Hence, while Bailey primarily targeted President Wilson in these critiques, others, including House, did not emerge unscathed. [8]

He trained more than 20 doctoral students in his career. [9] One of Bailey's students from the 1940s, Betty Miller Unterberger, was elected president of the SHAFR in 1986, the first woman in the position at a time when the organization was 99 percent male. It was Bailey who introduced Unterberger to the subject of one of her prime interests, the Russian Civil War between 1918 and 1920. [10]

Russian Civil War multi-party war in the former Russian Empire, November 1917-October 1922

The Russian Civil War was a multi-party civil war in the former Russian Empire immediately after the two Russian Revolutions of 1917, as many factions vied to determine Russia's political future. The two largest combatant groups were the Red Army, fighting for the Bolshevik form of socialism led by Vladimir Lenin, and the loosely allied forces known as the White Army, which included diverse interests favouring political monarchism, economic capitalism and alternative forms of socialism, each with democratic and anti-democratic variants. In addition, rival militant socialists and non-ideological Green armies fought against both the Bolsheviks and the Whites. Eight foreign nations intervened against the Red Army, notably the former Allied military forces from the World War and the pro-German armies. The Red Army eventually defeated the White Armed Forces of South Russia in Ukraine and the army led by Admiral Alexander Kolchak to the east in Siberia in 1919. The remains of the White forces commanded by Pyotr Wrangel were beaten in Crimea and evacuated in late 1920. Lesser battles of the war continued on the periphery for two more years, and minor skirmishes with the remnants of the White forces in the Far East continued well into 1923. The war ended in 1923 in the sense that Bolshevik communist control of the newly formed Soviet Union was now assured, although armed national resistance in Central Asia was not completely crushed until 1934. There were an estimated 7,000,000–12,000,000 casualties during the war, mostly civilians.

He was married to Sylvia Dean, daughter of a former University of Hawaii president.

Honors and awards

In 1960 he served as president of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association. In 1968, he was elected to the presidencies of both the Organization of American Historians and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. The Commonwealth Club awarded him gold medals in 1940 for his Diplomatic History of the American People and 1944 for his Woodrow Wilson and the Lost Peace. [11]

American Historical Association oldest and largest society of historians and professors of history in the United States

The American Historical Association (AHA) is the oldest and largest society of historians and professors of history in the United States. Founded in 1884, the association promotes historical studies, the teaching of history, and the preservation of and access to historical materials. It publishes The American Historical Review five times a year, with scholarly articles and book reviews. The AHA is the major organization for historians working in the United States, while the Organization of American Historians is the major organization for historians who study and teach about the United States.

Organization of American Historians professional association

The Organization of American Historians (OAH), formerly known as the Mississippi Valley Historical Association, is the largest professional society dedicated to the teaching and study of American history. OAH's members in the U.S. and abroad include college and university professors; historians, students; precollegiate teachers; archivists, museum curators, and other public historians; and a variety of scholars employed in government and the private sector. The OAH publishes the Journal of American History. Among its various programs, OAH conducts an annual meeting each spring, and has a robust roster on its OAH Distinguished Lecturership Program.

The Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) was founded in order to “promote excellence in research and teaching of American foreign relations history and to facilitate professional collaboration among scholars and students in this field around the world.” It is the preeminent organization in its field, with nearly 1,300 current members in over forty countries. It hosts an annual conference, and publishes the quarterly Diplomatic History. It also publishes a triennial newsletter, Passport. SHAFR has increasingly fostered connections with international institutions and organizations.


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  1. Lester D. Langley, "The Diplomatic Historians: Bailey and Bemis," The History Teacher, Vol. 6, No. 1 (November 1972): 52.
  2. Archived 2015-06-15 at the Wayback Machine
  3. DeConde, Alexander, "Thomas A. Bailey: Teacher, Scholar, Popularizer," Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 56, No. 2 (May 1987): 166
  4. DeConde, "Thomas A. Bailey," 174.
  5. Langley, "The Diplomatic Historians," p. 52-54.
  6. Bailey, Theodore Roosevelt and the Japanese-American Crisis: An Account of the International Complications Arising from the Race Problems on the Pacific Coast (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1934).
  7. Bailey, The Policy of the United States Toward the Neutrals, 1917-1918 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1942)
  8. Scot D. Bruce, "Woodrow Wilson's House: The Hidden Hand of Wilsonian Progressivism" Reviews in American History 45#4 (2017) pp 623-24.
  9. Alexander DeConde, "Thomas A. Bailey: Teacher, Scholar, Popularizer," Pacific Historical Review, Vol. 56, No. 2 (May 1987): 161-193.
  10. "Lee W. Formwalt, "From Scotland to India: A Conversation with American Historian Betty Unterberger." August 2005". Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  11. "California Book Awards - Commonwealth Club".

Further reading

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