Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Research Guide

A Brief History

Many citizens from Missouri have been adept at diplomacy and served locally as governors or politicians and internationally in foreign affairs positions as generals, soldiers, or correspondents.

Since the admission to the union, Missouri has never failed to do more than its part in every war in which the country has engaged. When the President called for volunteers in 1837 to fight the Seminoles, this state sent a regiment under Colonel Gentry, of Boone County. After a long steamboat trip down the Mississippi and across the Gulf to Florida, it rendered valiant service against the Indians in the Everglades. In the Mexican War its sturdy volunteers under Colonel Doniphan, of Ray county, made the long march across the plains, the longest in history, and contributed in the largest measure to the success of our arms. In the Civil War its entire fighting strength was under arms on one side or the other. In the Spanish-American War the Missouri National Guard volunteered to a man, filling Missouri's quota under the President's call for two hundred thousand volunteers. When in the Mexican crisis of 1916 the President called out the National Guard of the United States, the Missouri National Guard was the first to reach the Rio Grande and for six months it patrolled 145 miles of the Mexican border, its 5,030 officers and men making a record for efficiency, which brought a special acknowledgment from the Secretary of War.

Following the Corps of Discovery, President Jefferson gave William Clark, of Lewis and Clark, a dual appointment as brigadier general of the territory’s militia and principal U.S. Indian agent west of the Mississippi River. Clark spent much of his time tending to Indian affairs and countering British influence in the region. During his time as Indian agent, Clark negotiated numerous treaties between Native Americans and the federal government. He persuaded the Osage to sign a treaty that ceded tribal land in Missouri and Arkansas to the government, making way for an eventual new wave of settlers. In 1813 William Clark was appointed governor of Missouri Territory by President James Madison and served for seven years. His success as an administrator, talent for diplomacy, and concern for his constituents led one historian to call him “Missouri’s best territorial governor.”

Articles from Missouri Historical Review and Missouri Times


Many of the State Historical Society’s holdings are included in the SHSMO online catalog. The State Historical Society holds numerous books on the history of diplomacy and foreign affairs. Use the terms "diplomacy", "diplomat" and "foreign affairs". For a more specific search, simply add the subject term “Missouri” to your search.

Historic Missourian Biographies


The State Historical Society of Missouri's manuscript collections contain papers of diplomats and Foreign Service personnel as well as accounts of eyewitness observers of political events in other countries. Notable collections include the family papers of Russell Vincent Dye, a US diplomat in Europe and Mexico during and following World War I, and the papers of Raymond P. Brandt, a Washington correspondent for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1923 to 1967 who made several reporting trips to the Soviet Union.

View All Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs Manuscript Collections