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America and the Americas

The United States in the Western Hemisphere

Lester D. Langley

Publication Year: 2010

In this completely revised and updated edition of America and the Americas, Lester D. Langley covers the long period from the colonial era into the twenty-first century, providing an interpretive introduction to the history of U.S. relations with Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada. Langley draws on the other books in the series to provide a more richly detailed and informed account of the role and place of the United States in the hemisphere. In the process, he explains how the United States, in appropriating the values and symbolism identified with “America,” has attained a special place in the minds and estimation of other hemispheric peoples.

Discussing the formal structures and diplomatic postures underlying U.S. policy making, Langley examines the political, economic, and cultural currents that often have frustrated inter-American progress and accord. Most important, the greater attention given to U.S. relations with Canada in this edition provides a broader and deeper understanding of the often controversial role of the nation in the hemisphere and, particularly, in North America.

Commencing with the French-British struggle for supremacy in North America in the French and Indian War, Langley frames the story of the American experience in the Western Hemisphere through four distinct eras. In the first era, from the 1760s to the 1860s, the fundamental character of U.S. policy in the hemisphere and American values about other nations and peoples of the Americas took form. In the second era, from the 1870s to the 1930s, the United States fashioned a continental and then a Caribbean empire. From the mid-1930s to the early 1960s, the paramount issues of the inter-American experience related to the global crisis. In the final part of the book, Langley details the efforts of the United States to carry out its political and economic agenda in the hemisphere from the early 1960s to the onset of the twenty-first century, only to be frustrated by governments determined to follow an independent course. Over more than 250 years of encounter, however, the peoples of the Americas have created human bonds and cultural exchanges that stand in sharp contrast to the formal and often conflictive hemisphere crafted by governments.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Series: The United States and the Americas


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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xii

Sadly, some of those who contributed so much to the founding of the series or a reading of the original manuscript in 1988 have died: Malcolm Call of the University of Georgia Press, who as director of the Press guided it to national prominence; Stan Lindberg, who made the Georgia Review into an elite national literary voice; ...

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Introduction to the Second Edition

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pp. xv-xxiv

America and the Americas was published in 1989 as the first volume in what has become a successful series on the relations between the United States and the other countries of the Western Hemisphere. That series -- The United States and the Americas -- has achieved widespread recognition from U.S., Canadian, and Latin American ...

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Prelude: The Birth of the Second America

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pp. 1-4

It had begun as protest -- a welling up of emotions and outrage over the determination of a generation of British leaders to impose order on the vast domain of inland North America that had been the empire's reward for its victory over France in the last colonial war. That conflict, remembered in the Atlantic colonies as the French ...

PART 1. Genesis

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1. The Revolutionary Age

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pp. 7-37

In the half-century span after 1775 there occurred not one but three revolutions in the Americas. The one most familiar is the first, the American Revolution, what the British general Sir Henry Clinton called the American rebellion. But there were two other revolutions in this era -- in French Saint-Domingue, the richest colony ...

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2. Manifest Destiny

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pp. 38-72

Thomas Jefferson often used grand and inspirational phrases -- "America is a hemisphere unto itself" -- but one of his most memorable expressions was an "empire of liberty" the belief that the young United States could avoid or at least delay the problems of overpopulation and class conflict that some believed would ...

PART 2. Empire

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3. The Imperial Design

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pp. 75-103

In 1876 Americans celebrated not only their independence but, equally important, the survival of the republic after four years of fratricidal war with powerful implications for European powers and especially other hemispheric nations. For those French republicans who had suffered under the monarchical rule of Napoleon III, ...

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4. Pax Americana

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pp. 104-138

In the three decades after the war with Spain, the United States expanded its interests in Latin America by every political, economic, and military measure. It had displaced the Spanish Empire in Puerto Rico and Cuba. In the western Caribbean, it had already begun to chart a more direct role for American power on the isthmus. ...

PART 3. The Global Crisis

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5. A Hemisphere at War

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pp. 141-173

In March 1933, when Franklin Roosevelt took the oath of office as the nation's thirty-second president, domestic, not hemispheric, issues dominated both his and the country's concerns. Within the first hundred days of his administration, he plunged into a fundamental reshaping of the role of the federal government in ...

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6. The Cold War

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pp. 174-208

In some important respects, 1948 was a successful year for U.S. goals in the Americas. In the previous year at Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. delegation had persuaded the other republics to support a far-reaching inter-American defense pact. In spite of the violent backdrop of the bogotazo, which cost a thousand lives, the participating ...

PART 4. The Modern Era

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7. Years of Uncertainty

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pp. 211-246

The Cuban Missile Crisis had a sobering impact on Kennedy, on the Russians, and on most everyone except Castro, who reputedly became so infuriated over the deal made between the young U.S. president and his Soviet counterpart that he began courting the Chinese and promoting himself as a Third World leader. Yet Kennedy ...

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8. The Defiant Hemisphere

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pp. 247-280

More than any president since John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter sensed opportunity in Latin America's more assertive posture toward the United States. He spoke movingly and convincingly about renewed American concerns in the hemisphere: vindication of Panama's just demands for a new canal treaty, a fundamental ...

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pp. 281-296

History, Mark Twain said, does not repeat itself but often rhymes. Although they differed in many respects, the presidents of the United States inaugurated in 1801, 1901, and 2001 -- Thomas Jefferson, William McKinley, and George W. Bush -- began their terms with every expectation that both the government and the nation ...


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pp. 297-326

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Bibliographical Essay

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pp. 327-336

With the completion of the "United States and the Americas" series, a detailed bibliographical essay identifying U.S. relations with individual countries or regions would be superfluous. With a few exceptions, this essay identifies general works related to broad themes in the U.S. experience in the Western ...


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pp. 337-349

E-ISBN-13: 9780820337166
E-ISBN-10: 0820337161
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820328881
Print-ISBN-10: 082032888X

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 1 map
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: Second Edition
Series Title: The United States and the Americas