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President Ulysses S. Grant greeting a Japanese delegation in the White House, from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, March 23, 1872

The president is both a national spokesman and a world leader. Increasingly, as representative of a country of immigrants with ties around the globe, he is expected to defend America's security and economic interests, and also to promote democratic principles and human rights internationally.

Several presidents whose domestic policies were frustrated by an uncooperative Congress have focused their attention on foreign affairs, where their power and freedom to determine policy was less hindered.

Moccasins presented to Ulysses S. Grant during an 1870s peace conference in Washington, D.C.

Along with dealing with European powers, one of the earliest diplomatic issues facing a United States president was establishing and maintaining formal and legal relationships with the Indian nations within the country's declared borders.

 Delegation of Potawatomi, Pawnee, Ponca, and Sac and Fox leaders at the White House in 1857

Courtesy of National Archives


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