Commerce, Coercion and America’s Empire

Firstly, I laughed at the inclusion of the line, “white man that makes the chicken,” included by Dawson in reference to Colonel Sanders. Alright next…

This chapter goes on to recognize the influence in which the United States played on constructing Latin America. If a country is on the good side of the USA, it is quite inevitable that they would have had and still have influence in helping construct their nation. It is an easy comparison for Canada, because we share the same border, and the two competing nations were inseparable in forming the other.

It is difficult to label Latin America as an empire, because there was not one specific conquering nation. Haiti is a French Republic; Spain had a stranglehold of some nations but not dominant; many nations still had strong native cultural ties that they were unwilling of letting go. To classify Latin America as an empire is to be wrong, but undoubted that it could be explored.

The United States was also going through a transition as a materialistic society. After the Industrial Revolution, materialism seem to dominate and a new era of capitalism has emerged. This is a competing interest of Latin American nations because of strong cultural ties to their natives and to their native homeland. If the United States tried to influence Latin American nations, a conflicting view of society and the way ideas of how to run society could not be mere, they would be drastic. The commodities of Latin America were so native to their land, that they could not fully recognize the exchange value of such ‘stuff.’ This proved to be a problem, and still can be a problem in the low standards of living.

Dawson titles his document section as “Contesting Hegemony” with signifies the backlash of Latin America to the United States. The first document testifies to this anti-hegemony and anti-imperialism that could flourish in Latin America. However because of this Latin America struggles.

4 Replies to “Commerce, Coercion and America’s Empire”

  1. I think it’s interesting to consider the implications of what ‘being on the good side of the US’ entails. You point out that America helps with nation building, for example, yet what is the significance of having a railway built in your country if it’s owned and operated by a foreign power? I can’t help but feel that ‘being on the good side of the US’ really just boils down to the presence of a government that is sympathetic to the US, which is a position that is usually artificially created through coercion (see Batista in Cuba, or Diem in Vietnam).

  2. hey Jared! It was interesting how you said that the commodities in Latin America were so native to their land. This makes sense in comparison to the U.S. and Europe, who had most of the raw materials for their commodities imported from elsewhere. This definitely does change the relationship people have to their land.

  3. I thought your comments on the different conflicting views of society between the US and many countries within Latin America make a compelling argument about the conditions under which this period of intervention can be seen. The US was understandably eager to stretch its newly found product-heavy economic might upon other countries including the Latin America, and this would have created a big clash of ideals as you stated.

  4. I think it is interesting how you mentioned the differences between the US and Latin America in terms of culture and society, and how this affects the US’ ability to influence Latin America. While I agree that the US would have difficulty from a cultural approach, I think that US was only focused on having Economic influence in the region. To do so I don’t think it is necessary for them to worry about culture. Maybe if they wanted political influence it would be a large consideration, but from a purely economic standpoint I’m not sure how relevant it is.

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