Chapter 23, Section 3: The U.S. in Latin America Main Idea: Increasing economic ties led the United States to intervene in Latin American affairs.
A. A Canal Across Panama Roosevelt’s Plan • A canal through Central America would shorten a trip from NYC to SF by 8,000 miles. • Would reduce shipping costs for US businesses • Would also allow the navy to move ships faster. • During the S-A War, the USS Oregon took almost the entire war to get from SF to Cuba. • US offered Colombia $10 million + $250,000 per year to rent the land for a canal Taking the Canal Zone • Colombia turned down US offer to build a canal, so US “encouraged” Panama to revolt (with our support USS Nashville). • We then struck a deal directly with Panama for the same terms we offered Colombia. • This made many Latin American nations bitter toward us(they saw how we manipulated things). • Some in Congress had a problem with this too. • Roosevelt: “I took [it]; let Congress debate.”
B. Building the Canal Conquering Tropical Diseases • Before construction could begin, disease had to be controlled. Panama was a “mosquito paradise” due to its tropical climate. • Mosquitoes carry 2 of the deadliest tropical diseases: malaria & yellow fever. • Dr. William Gorgas (army doctor) eliminated the mosquito population in Panama by destroying their eggs. Swamps drained, insecticides sprayed, etc. The Big Dig • George Goethals oversaw 40,000 workers for 7 yrs. • Created largest artificial lake in world (at that time). • Blasted mountains & took 200 million tons of dirt. • Built giant locks to raise & lower ships in the canal • The new passageway through Central America benefited many nations, especially the US. Many Latin American nations, however, remained bitter about how we got it.
US involvement in Latin America increased dramatically in early 1900s. Roosevelt Extends the Monroe Doctrine In 1902, several European countries sent warships to Venezuela to collect debts. This bothered the US that Europe was interfering in our “backyard.” Roosevelt Corollary (1904) – addition to the Monroe Doctrine (1823) which gave US the right to intervene in Latin America to keep law & order (to keep Europe out) US makes itself the “policeman” of the Western Hemisphere. “Gunboat Diplomacy” – we would use our navy (warships) to enforce the corollary Dollar Diplomacy Taft’s policy of encouraging US banks & businesses to invest in Latin America & increase trade there (strengthen economic ties between US & Latin America). US built roads, RRs & shipping harbors there to improve trade. This also created some problems. US companies often meddled in local politics & we sometimes sent our military there to “protect American investments.” (Nicaragua – 1912) Moral Diplomacy Wilson’s policy to condemn imperialism, spread democracy, & promote peace He still sent US troops to Latin America many times (to “restore order” – Haiti & DR) These policies often caused resentment & suspicion from Latin American nations toward the US’s “imperialism” (felt US was too involved & interfered too much). C. The “Big Stick” in Latin America
Dollar Diplomacy – President Taft’s policy of encouraging Americans to invest in Latin America U.S. Global Investments & Investments in Latin America, 1914
D. The U.S. & Mexico • Most Mexicans lived in poverty, even though the US invested over $1 billion in Mexico. • Only wealthy Mexicans benefited from these investments, but most did not. Revolution in Mexico • Mexican’s rebelled against their leader (Diaz) in 1910, resulting in a civil war in that country. The US tried to stay neutral, but eventually supported Carranza & helped him defeat his rival, Huerta. Invading Mexico • Carranza was then challenged by General Pancho Villa • US supported Carranza (to protect our interests there). • Villa pulled 17 Americans off a train in Mexico & shot them. He then raided a town in New Mexico (American soil), killing 18 more Americans (35 total). • General John J. Pershing led 6,000 American troops into Mexico to capture Villa, but withdrew after almost a year to focus on WWI (troops needed in Europe). • Left bad feelings between the two countries. Pancho Villa became a national hero in Mexico for standing up to the US (he still is, too – La Cucaracha).