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Preview Main Idea / Reading Focus Power Struggles in Mexico Faces of History: Emiliano Zapata Growing U.S. Influence Map: United States Intervention in the Caribbean Visual Study Guide / Quick Facts Video: The Impact of Imperialism. Imperialism in Latin America.

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Main Idea / Reading Focus

Power Struggles in Mexico

Faces of History: Emiliano Zapata

Growing U.S. Influence

Map: United States Intervention in the Caribbean

Visual Study Guide / Quick Facts

Video: The Impact of Imperialism

Imperialism in Latin America


Imperialism in Latin America

Main Idea

Imperialism in Latin America involved the United States and European nations seeking to strengthen their political and economic influence over the region.

  • Reading Focus
  • How did various groups struggle for power in Mexico before and during the Mexican Revolution?
  • How did growing U.S. influence in Latin America change the region?

Early Conflicts

Santa Ana’s Rule

Juárez’s Reforms

  • In the 30 years after independence, Antonio López de Santa Ana dominated Mexican politics
  • Popular for military victories
  • Served as president five times
  • Began career as liberal reformer
  • As power increased, became conservative
  • Exiled several times; returned when enemies defeated
  • 1855, overthrown by group of reformers, exiled, never returned
  • Leader of reformers, Benito Juárez, reduced power of Catholic Church, military
  • Conservatives outraged; civil war erupted
  • Juárez, liberal allies triumphed

Power Struggles in Mexico

Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821 and became a republic in 1823, but political factions struggled for control of the government. Conflicts caused violence well into the next century.


Republic Restored

The Second Mexican Empire

  • Maximilian ended up alienating both conservatives, liberals
  • French withdrew troops; Maximilian did not have enough support to stay in power; surrendered; executed
  • Mexican Republic restored; Juárez reelected president, became one of Mexico’s greatest national heroes
  • Conservatives found ally in Europe
  • French emperor Napoleon III wanted to restore French empire in Americas
  • 1861, sent French troops into Mexico, overthrew government, installed Austrian archduke Maximilian as emperor of Mexico

Power Struggles in Mexico


The Mexican Revolution

  • Díaz’s Rule
  • Porfirio Díaz came to power after Juarez’s death
  • Ruled with iron fist; maintained law and order in Mexico
  • Imprisoned opponents; used army to keep peace at any cost
  • Modernization
  • Díaz helped modernize Mexico by encouraging foreign investment
  • Exports boomed; railroads expanded quickly; yet most remained poor
  • Wealth concentrated in hands of foreign investors, Mexican elite
  • The Mexican Revolution
  • Díaz controlled outcome of 1910 election; jailed opponent, Francisco Madero
  • Madero freed from jail; fled to Texas
  • Declared himself president; called for revolution against Díaz government
Madero returned to Mexico, found rebellion spreading.

Two men gathered support from lowest classes, began attacking government forces

Francisco “Pancho” Villa led band of rebels supporting Madero’s ideas; disgraced Diaz’s government by capturing city of Juarez, 1911

Emiliano Zapata led group of indigenous peasants, called for land reforms

Díaz soon forced to resign

Villa and Zapata


More Violence

  • Madero elected president later that year; turmoil continued
  • Within months, army chief Victoriano Huerta seized power, imprisoned Madero
  • Former Madero supporters opposed Huerta
  • United States Involvement
  • Pancho Villa’s army of small ranchers and cowboys in the north and Zapata’s peasant army in the south revolted against Huerta.
  • 1914, United States intervened, sent Marines to occupy Veracruz
  • Brought Mexico, U.S. close to war
  • Huerta tried to stay in power, but resigned and fled to Spain

Carranza Opposed

Carranza Reforms

  • End of 1915, Venustiano Carranza had defeated rivals
  • Villa continued to lead attacks against Carranza government
  • U.S. backed Carranza; Villa retaliated, launched attack across U.S. border
  • U.S. forces pursued Villa back across border, but unable to capture him
  • 1920, Villa finally agreed to halt attacks, Carranza began nation building
  • New constitution allowed the government to redistribute land, limited power of church, protected citizens’ rights
  • Mexico still struggled with widespread poverty

Carranza as President

Venustiano Carranza declared himself president. Zapata and Villa refused support and the nation was plunged into another civil war.



What were the major events of the Mexican Revolution?

Answer(s): President Porfirio Diaz jailed his opponent, Francisco Madero; Madero called for a revolution; Francisco "Pancho" Villa led a band of rebels who captured city of Juárez; Emiliano Zapata called for land reforms; Diaz resigned


Uprising in Cuba

Cuban Nationalists

  • Island of Cuba one of Spain’s colonies in the Americas
  • 1860s, Cuban nationalists began fighting for independence
  • Spain exiled leaders of nationalist revolts
  • One exiled leader, José Martí, continued struggle for independence from New York City
  • Poet, journalist, Martí urged Cubans to continue fight
  • Founded Cuban Revolutionary Party; returned to Cuba, 1895

Growing U.S. Influence

The United States had become a growing economic force in Latin America by the late 1800s. Economic power and political power grew together, and the United States exerted its influence and control in many ways.

Martí was killed in an uprising against the Spanish. Thousands of Cubans were forced into Spanish-controlled camps where many died.


The Spanish-American War

  • Sympathy for Rebels
  • Many people in U.S. felt sympathy for Cuban rebels
  • Viewed Cuban struggle for freedom as similar to American Revolution
  • American newspapers urged United States to enter war
  • War Begins
  • February 1898, U.S. battleship Maine exploded in Havana’s harbor
  • Many American’s immediately assumed Spain was to blame
  • Congress declared war; Spanish-American War began
  • Short War
  • War disastrous for Spain
  • Spanish army defeated in Cuba, navy fleets destroyed in Philippines, Cuba
  • U.S. won war within three months
Treaty ending Spanish-American War

United States received Puerto Rico, Guam

Agreed to purchase Philippines for twenty million dollars

Spain agreed to give up Cuba, but U.S. did not want Cuba to have full independence

U.S. made Cuba a protectorate by forcing it to include Platt Amendment as part of new constitution

Platt Amendment allowed U.S. to intervene in Cuba, approve foreign treaties, lease land at Guantánamo Bay for naval base

Peace Treaty


Revolt in the Philippines

  • Status in Philippines
  • Nationalists in the Philippines, another Spanish colony, believed Spanish-American war would bring them independence
  • Instead became U.S. colony
  • Betrayal and Revolt
  • Rebel leader Emilio Aguinaldo, who cooperated with U.S. forces against Spanish, felt betrayed
  • Rebels revolted against U.S.
  • No Independence
  • Three years of fighting
  • More than 200,000 Filipinos died from combat, disease
  • Did not win independence
  • Ruling Philippines
  • Until 1935, U.S. ruled Philippines through governor appointed by U.S. president
  • 1946, Philippines granted full independence

Panama Canal Zone

Building the Canal

  • U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt sent warships to support uprising against Colombia
  • Panama declared independent, signed treaty granting land to build canal; became Panama Canal Zone, ruled directly by U.S.
  • 1904-1914, Panama Canal built
  • Major medical advances required to control effects of yellow fever, malaria on canal workers
  • Shortened sea voyage from San Francisco to New York City by about 8,000 miles

The Panama Canal

  • U.S. gained control over more territory with building of Panama Canal
  • 1880s, French company had tried unsuccessfully to build canal across Isthmus of Panama, then part of Colombia
  • 1903, U.S. bought French property, equipment
  • Colombia refused to allow U.S. to build canal

A Warning to Europeans

  • Monroe Doctrine
  • 1823, Monroe Doctrine declared Americas off limits to European imperialism, except for colonies that already existed
  • Seen as idle threat by U.S. until end of Spanish-American War
  • Considerable Financial Interests
  • Late 1800s, Europe and U.S. had considerable financial interests in Latin America; many nations there were deeply indebted to foreign creditors
  • 1904, European creditors threatened force to collect in Dominican Republic
  • Roosevelt Corollary
  • To protect U.S. interests, maintain stability, Roosevelt announced the Roosevelt Corollary to Monroe Doctrine
  • The U.S. vowed to use military might to keep Europeans out of the Americas

Increasing U.S. Power

  • United States sent troops to several nations in early 1900s
    • U.S. forces entered Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Cuba to restore civil order
    • United States took control of finances in those countries
    • Claimed need to prevent financial chaos
  • Reality: U.S. used Roosevelt Corollary to become even more involved in political affairs of Latin American countries

Find the Main Idea

How did the United States gain control over more territory in the late 1800s and early 1900s?

Answer(s):gained Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines after the Spanish-American War; ruled the Panama Canal Zone after supporting an uprising against Colombia; added the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine; sent troops to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Cuba


VideoThe Impact of Imperialism

Click above to play the video.