The United States And Latin America

The United States And Latin America

Bibliographic Details

Book Review

In the preface to this interesting volume, the author states that it is based on a smaller book issued by the Johns Hopkins press in 1900, under the title The Diplomatic Relations of the United States and Spanish America, which contained the first series of Albert Shaw Lectures on Diplomatic History. In its present form this work contains nine chapters on as many different topics relating to the political history of Latin-American countries and the diplomatic relations of the United States with them from the beginning to the present time. In the first chapter, which deals with “The Revolt of the Spanish Colonies,” the author reviews, although rather briefly, the principal events

which ultimately led to the political emancipation of the Spanish Colonies in America. The next chapter deals with “The Recognition of the Spanish-American Republics.” Here the author makes a presentation of the political conditions and- circumstances which led, not only to the recognition of the new governments, but also to the formulation of the Monroe Doctrine, which indirectly insured their existence, protecting them against European aggression and intrigue


Chapter three, which treats on “The Diplomacy of the United States with Regard to Cuba,” contains a condensed exposition of the historical facts and diplomatic situations which brought about the Spanish-American War, the liberation of Cuba and the establishment of that island as a virtual protectorate of the United States under the terms of the so-called Platt Amendment, which determines the political relations existing between that country and the United States. The next chapter contains “The Diplomatic History of the Panama Canal,” which resulted in the establishment of the Republic of Panama, the building of the Canal, and the present strained relations of Colombia and the United States

Thesis Statement

Chapter five deals with “The French Intervention in Mexico,” and Chapter six with “The Two Venezuelan Episodes.” These two chapters are of positive historical value to the students of the enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine against the encroachment of European Powers upon Latin-American countries. It was on the occasion of one of these episodes that Seiior Drago of Argentina restated the Calvo doctrine, which is now usually known as the Drago Doetrine, to the effect that no state has a right to resort to armed intervention for the purpose of collecting the private claims of its citizens against another state, which subsequently found expression in a resolution of the Pan-American Conference held at Rio, and later on in the Porter Resolution, which, after much discussion, culminated in the well-known resolutions of the Second Peace Conference at The Hague by which the contracting Powers agreed not to have recourse to armed force for the recovery of contract debts claimed from the government of one country by the government of another country as being due to its nationals, which undertaking is, however, not applicable when the debtor state refuses or neglects to reply to an offer for arbitration, or, after accepting the offer, prevents any compromise from being agreed on, or, after the arbitration, fails to submit to the award. The last three chapters are really the most interesting in this volume, as they deal with the history of the three most important subjects of the new world politics: “The Advance of the United States in the Caribbean,” Pan-Americanism, ” and ” The Monroe Doctrine. ” In respect to the latter, the Latin-American reader will probably agree with the author that the imperialistic tendencies of our Caribbean policy, whether they be regarded as logical deductions from the Monroe Doctrine or not, have undoubtedly aroused the jealousies and fears of our Southern neighbors

Context of The United States and Latin America

One of the results has been the formation of the so-called A B C Alliance, based on treaties between Argentina, Brazil and Chile, the exact provisions of which have not been made public. This alliance doubtless serves a useful purpose in promoting friendly relations between the three great states of South America, and since the acceptance of the mediation of these powers in Mexico by President Wilson there is no reason to regard it as in any sense hostile to the United States. While the United States may very properly accept the mediation of other American states in disputes like that arising out of the Mexican situation, the United States would not feel under any obligation to consult other American states or accept their advice on any question involving the enforcement of the Monroe Doctrine.

The United States has always maintained the Monroe Doctrine as a principle of self-defense and, consequently, on its own authority. In 1825 the Brazilian Government proposed that the United States should enter into an alliance with it in order to maintain the independence of Brazil in case Portugal should be assisted by any foreign Power in her efforts to reconquer Brazil. Secretary Clay replied that while President Adams adhered to the principles set forth by his predecessor, the prospect of peace between Portugal and Brazil rendered such an alliance unnecessary

Analysis of the Text

In recent years the proposal has been more than once made that the Monroe Doctrine be Pan-Americanized. This proposal was discussed by Mr. Root in his address before the American Society of International Law in 1914, in the course of which he said:

Since the Monroe Doctrine is a declaration based upon this nation's right of self- protection, it cannot be transmuted into a joint or common declaration by American states or any number of them. If Chile or Argentina or Brazil were to contribute the weight of its influence toward a similar end, the right upon which that nation would rest its declaration would be its own safety, not the safety of the United States. Chile would declare what was necessary for the safety of Chile, Argentina would declare what was necessary for the safety of Argentina, Brazil, what was necessary for the safety of Brazil. Each nation would act for itself and in its own right, and it would be impossible to go beyond that except by more or less offensive and defensive alliances. Of course, such alliances are not to be considered

More about The United States and Latin America

President Wilson, in his address before the Second Pan-American Scientific Congress in 1916, agreed in part with this when he said: “The Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed by the United States on her own authority. It has always been maintained, and always will be maintained, upon her own responsibility.” Except for a previous book by the saine author, now out of print, the material in this present volume is not obtainable in any other single book.

This very instructive volume, as pointed out by the editors, was written primarily for college and university classes in history and political science, but its subject-matter and the method the author has used in handling this material make the book possible of wide use by the general reader. Two maps, one of South America and the other of the Caribbean, cover the entire geography with which the book is concerned. The book also contains a table of contents and a useful analytical index

Book Review

This legal book review was published in The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Apr., 1921), pp. 323-325

For Legal Meanings:

References to the legal books also in the Legal Definitions, click here

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