The University of Wisconsin Press
History - American
Drive to Hegemony
The United States in the Caribbean, 1898–1917
In this book, David Healy presents a thorough, balanced, and sharply analytical history of U.S. involvement in the Caribbean region between the end of the 19th century and 1920. Healy combines primary research material with a wide array of secondary sources as he details the complex workings of American foreign policy and the internal situations of the Caribbean nations. Scholars and students of U.S. and Latin American history, as well as political scientists interested in Latin American international relations, will find this to be the most comprehensive treatment of the subject to date.
In the 1890s the Caribbean began to attract the interest of the great powers. United States leaders had both economic and strategic goals in the region, and they believed they could profit from Caribbean nations while leading them to democracy and prosperity. American citizens saw the lack of progress in the Caribbean as the result of the inhabitants’ inferiority, and they feared that European countries—particularly Germany—might fill the region’s power vacuum. The Spanish-American War crystallized U.S. interest in the region; soon there was an isthmian canal, a protectorate in Cuba, and a colony in Puerto Rico.
But Washington’s policy makers soon faced growing problems in the Caribbean: How to bring peace to these countries without being drawn into domestic squabbles? How to impose U.S. policy without the use of force? How to promote local democracy while retaining a controlling interest? Eventually the goals of local economic development and self-determination were sacrificed to the need for security and stability, often brought about through U.S.-supported dictatorships.
Healy integrates these elements into a broad picture of U.S. policy development in the Caribbean: the differences between successive administrations from McKinley to Wilson; the role of the armed forces; interagency differences; and the role of private enterprise and private citizens. He considers the underlying assumptions of both U.S. policy makers and their Caribbean counterparts, forming a balanced and accurate assessment.
David Healy is professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His other books include The United States in Cuba, 1898–1902; US Expansionism: The Imperialist Urge in the 1890s; and Gunboat Diplomacy in the Wilson Era: The U.S. Navy in Haiti, 1915–1916.
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LC: 88-040190 F
370 pp. 20 illus., 1 map
This title, cloth ISBN 978-0-299-11720-7, is out of print, but David Healy's US Expansionism has been reprinted.
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Updated December 14, 2011© 2011, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System