Universidad de Puerto Rico
Culturas Latinas en E.U.
In the early 1800s, Spain’s colonies in America were much richer and bigger in territory than the U.S. By the mid-1800s, most of Spain’s colonies broke into much smaller separate countries and lost power, while the U.S. gained power and territory (Harvest Empire, Chapter 2, page 27). According to Gonzalez, some often describe the American model, in contrast to the ill-suited Spanish model, as one that was fundamentally suited for power and expansion. However, as Gonzalez argues in the chapter, his views are not particularly in accord with the general consensus because these views “ignore the discordant and unequal relationship that emerged between the US and Latin America from the first days of independence.” (Page 27).
The United States expansion pattern is quite simply explained by the country’s desire for growth, which came from a place feeling threatened by the possibility of Latin American territories growing, and at one point becoming a credible threat to U.S. power. However, given the times, as Gonzalez explains, one of the main reasons the U.S. felt it could not allow for these areas of Latin America to become independent (even if their governments were modeled after the American revolution) was because they were headed towards eradicating slavery. As part of the expansion pattern, North-American merchants and traders supported weak Latin-American leaders only to overthrow them and later annex these territories.
Hostile behavior from the U.S. toward Latin Americans as they fought towards their independence was a shock to Latin American leaders since their strategies for independence were based on the American Revolution, and because of the support various Latin Americans gave to the U.S. during said war. (Page 29) However the truth behind this disloyal behavior from the United States was once again based on the country’s interest in some of these Spanish occupied territories.
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