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The United States and the Americas

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The United States and the Americas

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America and the Americas

The United States in the Western Hemisphere

Lester D. Langley

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.

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Argentina and the United States

An Alliance Contained

David M. K. Sheinin

In the first English-language survey of Argentine-U.S. relations to appear in more than a decade, David M. K. Sheinin challenges the accepted view that confrontation has been the characteristic state of affairs between the two countries. Sheinin draws on both Spanish- and English-language sources in the United States, Argentina, Canada, and Great Britain to provide a broad perspective on the two centuries of shared U.S.-Argentine history with fresh focus in particular on cultural ties, nuclear politics in the cold war era, the politics of human rights, and Argentina's exit in 1991 from the nonaligned movement.

From the perspectives of both countries, Sheinin discusses such topics as Pan-Americanism, petroleum, communism and fascism, and foreign debt. Although the general trajectory of the two countries' relationship has been one of cooperative interaction based on generally strong and improving commercial and financial ties, shared strategic interests, and vital cultural contacts, Sheinin also emphasizes episodes of strained ties. These include the Cuban Revolution, the Dirty War of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the Falklands/Malvinas War. In his epilogue, Sheinin examines Argentina's monetary crash of December 2001, when the United States-in a major policy shift-refused to come to Argentina's rescue.

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Brazil and the United States

Convergence and Divergence

Joseph Smith

Although Brazil and the United States have long regarded each other sympathetically, relations between the two countries have been adversely affected by geographical distance, language barriers, and cultural indifference. In this comprehensive overview, Joseph Smith examines the history of Brazil-U.S. relations from the early nineteenth century to the present day.
 
With the exception of commerce, notably the coffee trade, there was relatively little contact between the countries during the nineteenth century. A convergence of national interests took place during the first decade of the twentieth century and was exemplified in Brazil’s strategy of “approximating” its foreign policy to that pursued by the United States. In return, Brazil expected economic gains and diplomatic support for its ambition to be the leading power in South America. But U.S. leaders were cautious and self-serving. Brazil was treated as a special ally, according to Smith, but only at times of major crisis such as the two world wars.
 
As the twentieth century progressed, friction developed over programs of U.S. financial assistance and efforts to deal with the threat of communism. Recently there have been disagreements over Brazil’s determination to take its rightful place as a global economic player and regional leader. Nonetheless history reveals that these two giant nations of the Western Hemisphere share national interests that they realize are best served by maintaining a friendly, cooperative relationship.

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Canada and the United States

Ambivalent Allies

John Herd Thompson and Stephen J. Randall

The United States and Canada have the world's largest trading relationship and the longest shared border. Spanning the period from the American Revolution to post-9/11 debates over shared security, Canada and the United States offers a current, thoughtful assessment of relations between the two countries. Distilling a mass of detail concerning cultural, economic, and political developments of mutual importance over more than two centuries, this survey enables readers to grasp quickly the essence of the shared experience of these two countries.

This edition of Canada and the United States has been extensively rewritten and updated throughout to reflect new scholarly arguments, emphases, and discoveries. In addition, there is new material on such topics as energy, the environment, cultural and economic integration, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, border security, missile defense, and the second administration of George W. Bush.

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Cuba and the United States

Ties of Singular Intimacy

Louis A. Perez Jr.

The Times Literary Supplement calls Louis A. Pérez Jr. "the foremost historian of Cuba writing in English." In this new edition of his acclaimed 1990 volume, he brings his expertise to bear on the history and direction of relations between Cuba and the United States.

Of all the peoples in Latin America, the author argues, none have been more familiar to the United States than Cubans--who in turn have come to know their northern neighbors equally well. Focusing on what President McKinley called "the ties of singular intimacy" linking the destinies of the two societies, Pérez examines the points at which they have made contact--politically, culturally, economically--and explores the dilemmas that proximity to the United States has posed to Cubans in their quest for national identity.

This edition has been updated to cover such developments of recent years as the renewed debate over American trade sanctions against Cuba, the Elián González controversy, and increased cultural exchanges between the two countries. Also included are a new preface and an updated bibliographical essay.

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Ecuador and the United States

Useful Strangers

Ronn Pineo

This history of relations between Ecuador and the United States is a revealing case study of how a small, determined country has exploited its marginal status when dealing with a global superpower. Ranging from Ecuador's struggle for independence in the 1820s and 1830s to the present day, the book examines the misunderstandings, tensions, and--from the U.S. perspective--often unintended consequences that have sometimes arisen in relations between the two countries.

Such interactions included U.S. efforts in Ecuador to stem yellow fever, build railroads, and institute economic reforms. Many of the two countries' exchanges in the twentieth century stemmed from the global disruptions of World War II and the cold war. More recently, Ecuadorian and U.S. interests have been in contest over fishing rights, foreign development of Ecuadorian oil resources, and Ecuador's emergence as a transit country in the drug trade.

Ronn Pineo looks at these and other issues within the context of how the United States, usually preoccupied with other concerns, has often disregarded Ecuador's internal race, class, and geographical divisions when the two countries meet on the global stage. On the whole, argues Pineo, the two countries have operated effectively as “useful strangers” throughout their mutual history. Ecuador has never been merely a passive recipient of U.S. policy or actions, and factions within Ecuador, especially regional ones, have long seen the United States as a potential ally in domestic political disputes. The United States has influenced Ecuador, but often only in ways Ecuadorians themselves want. This book is about the dynamics of power in the relations between a very large if distracted nation when dealing with a very small but determined nation, an investigation that reveals a great deal about both.

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Mexico and the United States

Ambivalent Vistas

W. Dirk Raat and Michael M. Brescia

Drug wars, NAFTA, presidential politics, and heightened attention to Mexican immigration are just some of the recent issues that are freshly interpreted in this updated survey of Mexican-U.S. relations.

The fourth edition has been completely revised and offers a lively, engaging, and up-to-date analysis of historical patterns of change and continuity as well as contemporary issues. Ranging from Mexican antiquity and the arrival of the Spanish and British to the present-day administrations of Felipe Calderón and Barack Obama, historians Dirk Raat and Michael Brescia evaluate the political, economic, and cultural trends and events that have shaped the ways that Mexicans and Americans have regarded each other over the centuries. Raat and Brescia pay special attention to the factors that have subordinated Mexico not only to "the colossus of the North" but to many other players in the global economy. They also provide a unique look at the cultural dynamics of Gran Chichimeca or Mexamerica, the borderlands where the two countries share a common history. The bibliographical essay has been revised to reflect current research and scholarship.

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Panama and the United States

The End of the Alliance

Michael L. Conniff

This new edition of Panama and the United States, examines how relations between Panama and the United States have always pivoted on the issue of transportation across the country's narrow isthmus and delves into the future of those relations now that Panama controls the canal. Historically, Panamanians aspired to have their country become a crossroads of the world, while Americans sought to tame a vast territory and protect their trade and influence around the globe. The building of the Panama Canal (1904-1914) locked the two countries in their parallel quests but failed to satisfy either fully. Michael L. Conniff explores the implications of Panama's newly acquired opportunities and how events since the 1989 U.S. invasion have provided a rich environment for the emergence of new parties, a new generation of politicians, and more democratic business procedures. Panama is now able to re-create its own nationhood relatively free from outside pressures.

Drawing on a wide array of sources updated for this edition, Conniff considers the full range of factors--political, social, strategic, diplomatic, economic, intellectual--that have bound the two countries together. He conveys the viewpoints of leaders in each country but also follows the shifting currents of public opinion. As he shows, the many layers of decision making, opinion, communication, and administration that affected the construction, operation, and turning over of the canal have made relations slow and sometimes impenetrable.

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Paraguay and the United States

Distant Allies

Frank O. Mora

Ranging from the 1840s through the early twenty-first century, this study of shared political, economic, and cultural histories fills significant gaps in our understanding of Paraguayan-U.S. relations. Frank O. Mora and Jerry W. Cooney tell how an initially rocky beginning between the two countries, marked by diplomatic posturing, shows of military force, and failed business schemes, gave way to a calmer period during which the United States backed Paraguay's territorial claims against its neighbors, prospects grew brighter for American entrepreneurs, and Paraguay embraced Pan-Americanism.

It was not until the 1930s that the two countries engaged in earnest as the United States attempted to mediate the Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia. Then, as the authors write, "hemispheric solidarity in World War II, the cold war in Latin America, the 'balance of power' among states in the Río de la Plata, and the question of U.S. support for, or aid to, Latin American dictators" became matters of mutual interest.

The dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (1954-89) spanned much of this era, and a shared attitude of realpolitik typified U.S.-Paraguayan relations during his rule. Post-Stroessner, the United States has stood by Paraguay during its transition to democracy, despite lingering concerns about such issues as drug trafficking and intellectual piracy. The countries should grow closer with time, the authors conclude, if Paraguay resists the continent's leftward political shift and remains a solid partner in U.S. antiterror initiatives in South America.

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