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Keywords:

  • foreign policy;
  • Congress;
  • entrepreneurs

“Congressional foreign policy entrepreneurs” are those legislators who initiate their own foreign policy agendas. These individuals seek to frame policy discussions and mobilize public and interest group interest; to direct congressional agendas toward specific foreign policy issues; to structure and influence the formulation of foreign policies by the executive branch; to revise, refocus, or reformulate foreign policies; to generate alternative and replacement foreign policies; and to fill policy vacuums with their own preferred foreign policies. This paper examines the evolution and impact of such entrepreneurs across the periods of the Cold War Consensus (1946–1967), the Cold War Dissensus (1968–1989), and the Post-Cold War (1990–2000). The paper first provides an overview of the concept of foreign policy entrepreneurs. It then turns to case studies of entrepreneurial initiatives from three prolific entrepreneurs whose careers span the post-World War II era: Senators Jacob Javits, Edward Kennedy, and Christopher Dodd. Together, the overview and cases shed light on the different avenues and activities that entrepreneurs use to address their preferred issues and the impact entrepreneurs have on policy, as well as highlight changes in both over time.