From Selma to Moscow

How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy

Sarah B. Snyder

Columbia University Press

From Selma to Moscow

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Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9780231169479

320 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $30.00£24.00

Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9780231169462

320 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $90.00£70.00

Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9780231547215

320 Pages

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List Price: $29.99£24.00

From Selma to Moscow

How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy

Sarah B. Snyder

Columbia University Press

The 1960s marked a transformation of human rights activism in the United States. At a time of increased concern for the rights of their fellow citizens—civil and political rights, as well as the social and economic rights that Great Society programs sought to secure—many Americans saw inconsistencies between domestic and foreign policy and advocated for a new approach. The activism that arose from the upheavals of the 1960s fundamentally altered U.S. foreign policy—yet previous accounts have often overlooked its crucial role.

In From Selma to Moscow, Sarah B. Snyder traces the influence of human rights activists and advances a new interpretation of U.S. foreign policy in the “long 1960s.” She shows how transnational connections and social movements spurred American activism that achieved legislation that curbed military and economic assistance to repressive governments, created institutions to monitor human rights around the world, and enshrined human rights in U.S. foreign policy making for years to come. Snyder analyzes how Americans responded to repression in the Soviet Union, racial discrimination in Southern Rhodesia, authoritarianism in South Korea, and coups in Greece and Chile. By highlighting the importance of nonstate and lower-level actors, Snyder shows how this activism established the networks and tactics critical to the institutionalization of human rights. A major work of international and transnational history, From Selma to Moscow reshapes our understanding of the role of human rights activism in transforming U.S. foreign policy in the 1960s and 1970s and highlights timely lessons for those seeking to promote a policy agenda resisted by the White House.
In this illuminating book Sarah Snyder explains the origins of the human rights movement in the 1960s and chronicles its evolution until the inauguration of Jimmy Carter. Linking the evolution of human rights to other social movements, she probes the motives, highlights the transnational connections, and analyzes the successes and failures of activists regarding human rights violations inside the Soviet Union, Southern Rhodesia, Greece, South Korea, and Chile. This book is an important contribution to the literature on human rights. Melvyn Leffler, Edward Stettinius Professor of American History, University of Virginia
In this impressive and deeply researched work, Sarah Snyder reveals the way global struggles over human rights became a feature of American politics and foreign policy in the 1960s and 70s as activists, journalists, and Congress members made the case that the United States was complicit if the country ignored brutal repression. An important contribution. Mary L. Dudziak, Emory University School of Law
Based on deep and thorough archival research, as well as an innovative and creative use of quantitative measures, Snyder’s book demonstrates that issues of human rights emerged as a significant priority for many Americans, both political leaders and activists, well before the Carter administration. From Selma to Moscow is an extremely important contribution to what remains one of the most important challenges in American foreign policy. Thomas Schwartz, Vanderbilt University
Human rights is emerging as one of the central concerns of modern humanities and social science scholarship. From Selma to Moscow illuminates the missing links between histories of the 1940s and the 1970s, the focus of previous studies. Sarah Snyder’s globe-spanning tale of activists and policy makers reveals the significance of the 1960s for bringing human rights to the forefront of U.S. foreign relations. An important book from an excellent historian. Tim Borstelmann, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Human Rights Activism Directed Across the Iron Curtain
2. A Double Standard Abroad and at Home? Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence
3. Causing Us “Real Trouble”: The 1967 Coup in Greece
4. Does the United States Stand for Something? Human Rights in South Korea
5. Translating Human Rights into the Language of Washington: American Activism in the Wake of the Coup in Chile
6. “A Call for U.S. Leadership”: Congressional Activism on Human Rights
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Sarah B. Snyder is a historian of U.S. foreign relations and an associate professor at American University’s School of International Service. She is also the author of the award-winning Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War: A Transnational History of the Helsinki Network (2011).