History and Government Faculty Presentations

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Event Date



International Studies Association Annual Convention


New Orleans, LA


The Presidency of George W. Bush did much to spotlight the role of Evangelical Christians in the political realm. However, it is arguable that every president since Jimmy Carter has had at least some ties with evangelicalism. The first aspect of this paper is to pin down what an evangelical is. Existing literature on the subject we argue is inadequate and has led to much misunderstanding of evangelical Christians and to simplistic coding procedures in quantitative studies. Second, we narrow this paper into a specific discussion of evangelical influence in foreign policy. Over 80 percent of evangelicals supported Bush in 2000 and 2004, which gave significant evangelical influence in his foreign policies especially regarding Iraq. We note that his administration was critiqued for utilizing “selective engagement” in Iraq rather than a theoretically robust and comprehensive strategy. We also argue that the evangelical role in foreign policy begins to resemble a more overarching strategy. This foreign policy leans mainly on structural realism but also to some degree on neoliberal institutionalism. This paper presents a more holistic influence in foreign policy that will lead to a better understanding of a) what an evangelical is and b) how that relates to foreign policy.


United States, foreign policy



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