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International Relations *: Historical Research

A guide to databases and scholarly web sites in support of research in international relations and comparative politics..

IR-related Databases with Historical Coverage

IR-related Databases with Historical Coverage

  • AccessUN -- indexes the majority of United Nations documents and publications. Articles appearing in UN periodicals are individually indexed as well as bilateral and multilateral treaties in the UN Treaty Series.
  • Declassified Documents Reference System -- provides full text access to formerly classified U.S. government documents temanating from a wide variety of government agencies, including the CIA, Department of State, National Security Council, Department of Defense, FBI, etc.
  • Digital National Security Archive -- full-text of twelve collections of primary U.S. government documents which detail its foreign relations and chronicle policy decisions. Most documents were originally classified.
  • Economist Intelligence Unit [EIU] Country Reports -- a source of business intelligence on political and economic trends in 200 countries from 1996 to the present. An overall profile of each country is provided annually and a current report is produced quarterly. Both include current detailed statistics.
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports -- consists of full-text Daily Report translations of broadcasts, news agency transmissions, newspapers, periodicals and government statements from nations around the world published from 1962-1996. Content will be released on a monthly basis until coverage is complete back to 1941.
  • Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980 -- these British Foreign Office files address a crucial period in Chinese history, from the foundation of the People’s Republic, in 1949, to the death of Zhou Enlai and Mao, the arrest of the Gang of Four, and the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 as well as Files dealing with Hong Kong and Taiwan during this period. 
  • Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1947-1980 -- sourced from the British Foreign Office files, this resource covers the political and social history of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in this period with additional content on Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Kashmir, as well as other frontier regions.
  • Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online -- a collection of some 700 interview transcripts conducted with refugees from the USSR during the early years of the Cold War. A unique source for the study of Soviet society between 1917 and the mid-1940s, it boasts vast amounts of one-of-a-kind data on political, economic, social and cultural conditions.
  • Human Rights Studies Online -- provides comparative documentation, analysis, and interpretation of major human rights violations and atrocity crimes worldwide from 1900 to 2010. The collection includes primary and secondary materials across multiple media formats and content types for each selected event, including Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Darfur, and more than thirty additional subjects.
  • Index Islamicus -- indexes literature on Islam, the Middle East, and the Muslim world. Records included in the database cover almost 100 years of publications on the world of Islam. Material cited in the the database includes not only work written about the Middle East, but also about the other main Muslim areas of Asia and Africa, plus Muslim minorities elsewhere.
  • Keesing's World News Archive -- provides access unbiased, full-text reports of the most historically significant political, social, and economic events of the world since 1931. About 150 new articles are added each month.
  • Public Affairs Information Services [PAIS] -- indexes selective subjects and bibliographic access to periodicals, books, hearings, reports, gray literature, government publications, Internet resources, and other publications from 120 countries. Coverage from 1915 to the present.
  • Records of the Parliaments of Scotland -- a fully searchable database containing the proceedings of the Scottish parliament from the first surviving act of 1235 to the union of 1707.
  • United States Congressional Serial Set -- commonly referred to as the Serial Set, this collection contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports from 1817-1994. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts -- provides indexing of the international journal literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration and policy. Over 1,700 titles are monitored for coverage and, of these, 67% are published outside of the United States. Coverage from 1975 to the present.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Research Databases

History Databases

  • America: History and Life -- database that covers the history of the United States and Canada. It includes key English-language historic journals, selected historic journals from major countries, state and local history journals, and selected relevant journals in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Historical Abstracts -- this database includes key history journals from major countries, as well as relevant selected journals from the social sciences and humanities. Covers world history outside of the United States and Canada. All abstracts are in English.

Important Archival Databases for Doing Historical Research in IR

  • American State Papers, 1789-1838 -- this collection includes over 6,000 publications, including every legislative and executive document of the first fourteen U.S. Congresses, in addition to materials such as speeches and messages of Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. Covers historical documents prior to the U.S. Congressional Serial Set [see below].
  • Archives Direct -- site contains a suite of collections sourced from The National Archives, Kew - the UK government's official archive. Includes collections on the Middle East, China, and the Richard Nixon Era.
  • Archives Unbound: Foreign Relations between Latin America and the Caribbean States, 1930-1944 -- organized by country, this collection covers a wide range of viewpoints on political, social and economic issues. It sheds light on the foreign relations interactions between Central American and South American countries — with coverage of the Caribbean, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Users will find memoranda, cables, correspondence, reports and analyzes, and treaties.
  • Archives Unbound: Nicaragua: Political Instability and U.S. Intervention -- this collection provides documentation on the almost continual political instability in Nicaragua through the State Department's internal documentation, as well as correspondence between the Department and other federal departments and agencies, Congress, and private individuals and organizations; telegrams, airgrams, instructions, inquiries, studies, memoranda, situation reports, translations, special reports, plans, and official and unofficial correspondence. Date Range: 1910-1933.
  • Archives Unbound: Revolucion en Mexico, the 1917 Constitution and Its Aftermath -- this collection of U.S. State Department records consists of political and military documents relating to the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath -1910-1924. These unique and insightful records provide an unprecedented look at the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910 and continued sporadically until the new Constitution was adopted in 1917, through to and including the election of Calles.
  • Archives Unbound: Revolution in Honduras and American Business: The Quintessential “Banana Republic” -- this collection sheds detail to both the political and financial machinations of the fruit companies, but also the graft and corruption of the national government, the American banking community’s loans, the U.S. government’s response and the various aborted popular/revolutionary uprisings.
  • Chatham House Online Archive -- provides a searchable, browsable research environment that enables users to explore approximately half a million pages and over ninety years of research, expert analysis, and commentary published in briefing papers, special reports, pamphlets, conference papers and books as well as the full-text of Chatham House's two flagship publications: International Affairs and The World Today. Additionally, the archive offers unique access to thousands of hours of audio recordings of Chatham House lectures and their fully searchable transcripts offering valuable insight into the thoughts and reasoning's of key figures in international affairs.
  • CQ Press Congressional Collection -- data is presented with non-biased commentary and includes vital biographical and voting data for members of Congress, legislative information organized by topic, key votes, legislative analysis, interest group scores of members, encyclopedic information on Congress, and Supreme Court case summaries relating to the structure and powers of Congress dating back to 1945. Important resource for locating legislative involvement in foreign affairs.
  • HeinOnline History of International Law -- includes more than 800 titles and 600,000 pages dating back to 1690 on international law subjects such as war and peace, the Nuremberg Trials, law of the sea, international arbitration, Hague Conferences and Conventions, and much more. Access by clicking on link in left-hand column.
  • HeinOnline World Trials Library -- this collection includes more than 3,200 trials including complete sets of American State Trials, Howell's State Trials, and the Nuremburg Trials. It also includes famous trials from various law library trials collections. It contains trial transcripts, critical court documents, and trial-related resources such as full-text books and reports which analyze and debate the decisions of famous trials. Access by clicking on link in left-hand column.
  • JSTOR--a full text digital archive of core scholarly journals representing disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, most with complete back runs, some dating back to the late 17th century.
  • ProQuest History Vault -- provides access to millions of full-text/full-image primary source materials on widely studied topics in nineteenth and twentieth century American history. Source materials include letters, official memoranda, personal papers, photographs, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries, and much more. Current collections relevant to international affairs include:
    • American Politics and Society from Kennedy to Watergate
    • FBI Confidential Files and Radical Politics in the U.S., 1945-1972
    • Immigration: Records of the INS, 1880-1930
    • News, Policy & Politics Magazine Archive
    • Office of Strategic Services and State Department Intelligence and Research Reports, 1941-1961
    • Slavery and the Law
    • Vietnam War and American Foreign Policy, 1960-1975
    • World War II: U.S. Documents on Planning, Operations, Intelli-gence, Axis War Crimes, and Refugees
  • United States Congressional Serial Set -- commonly referred to as the Serial Set, this collection contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.