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To what extent should the United States be proud of its policies towards Latin America?

We have been examining America's imperialistic actions in the Spanish American War. As you know America has always been concerned with what goes on in the Caribbean, the Monroe Doctrine is but one example of that. Today we will examine several of the United States policies toward Latin America. As you can well imagine they have mostly been dominated by imperialistic sentiments.

Here is a good summary of US Latin American policy.



SELECTION ONE: The Monroe Doctrine

During the early 19th century, the inhabitants of Spain's colonies in Latin America revolted and began a series of wars for independence.

In 1823, President Monroe was faced with two threats of foreign intervention in the Western Hemisphere. Both threats were organized from several of the great European powers such as Austria, France, Prussia and Russia. To combat such foreign intervention, President Monroe issued the following policy now known as the Monroe Doctrine. It included the following points:

1. The Western Hemisphere was closed to further European colonization.

2. U.S. would not interfere with the existing colonies of Europeans.

3. The U.S. would not interfere in the internal affairs of any Europeans.

4. Any attempt by the European powers to intervene in the Western Hemisphere would be regarded as "dangerous to our (U.S..) peace and safety.

SELECTION TWO: U.S. Latin American Relations (1845-1933)

1. Since 1900, U.S. invades Cuba 4 times. It proclaims it has the right to go into Cuba to preserve Cuban independence. The US justified it's actions because it had inserted the "Platt Amendment" into the the Cuban Constitution after the Spanish American War.

2. President Theodore Roosevelt convinces Great Britain, Germany and Italy not to invade Venezuela in 1902, to collect debts owed to them by the Venezuelan government. Instead they submit the matter for international settlement. This was part of America's "Dollar Diplomacy." Essentially Dollar Diplomacy refers to America's protection of economic interests.

3. 1903--the U.S. provokes Panama to revolt against Colombia, and the U.S. warships blockade Colombia to prevent the country from putting down the revolution.

4. 1904--T. Roosevelt claims the U.S. is the "Policeman of the Western Hemisphere" and can intervene in the affairs of any nation in the hemisphere if it affects the U.S. THIS BECAME KNOWN AS THE ROOSEVELT COROLLARY (ADDITION) TO THE MONROE DOCTRINE.

5. 1905-1933--American Marines maintain order and control over Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They also protect U.S. investments in most of Latin America. This was also part of America's "Dollar Diplomacy."

SELECTION THREE: Good Neighbor Policy 1933

President Franklin Roosevelt and his Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, labored to win Latin American good will by a following policy that included the following objectives:

1. Friendship--respecting the rights of others. Americans hoped to overcome the hostility that many Latin Americans felt toward the U.S.

2. Trade--with the U.S. in the midst of the Great Depression, American hoped to increase trade with Latin American and spur economic recovery.


SELECTION FOUR: Results Of The Good Neighbor Policy (1933-1945)

1. 1933--At Montevideo Conference, the U.S. and other American Republics declare, "No state has the right to intervene in the external and internal affairs of another."

2. 1934--American marines withdraw from Haiti.

3. 1934--U.S. established the Import-Export Bank to grant low interest loans for building and developing Latin American natural resources.

4. 1936--At the Buenos Aires Conference, the American Republics pledge together to consult each other in case of threat to peace in the Americas.

5. 1936--U.S. surrenders the right to intervene in the affairs of Panama.

6. 1938--At the Lima Conference, the American Republics agreed that a threat against any one, is a threat to all.

SELECTION FIVE: Alliance for Progress (1961)

1. AID--the Latin American nations agreed to a 10 year $20 billion aid program.

2. Trade--the alliance nations agreed to expand trade and to stabilize prices of Latin America's products, especially coffee and tin.

3. Reform--improve the conditions for the Latin American masses by social and economic reforms : providing free schools, reducing illiteracy, eradicating malaria, building public housing, giving land to the peasants.

4. Organization of American States (OAS) created to ensure cooperation between the United States and member Latin American nations.

 Any examination of the policies above should draw you to some very clear conclusions about the relationship of the United States and Latin America.

1. The United States has always acted in its own best interest regardless of the impact upon Latin America. Often this has included conquest, domination and interference.

2. The US has been a bully.

3. Latin American nations have grown to resent US interference.

4. Since the 1960's the US has mostly tried to repair its relationship with Latin America. (With the exception being Cuba.)

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