The Neocolonial Order

       I.            Neocolonialism

A.    In the aftermath of independence, most Latin American countries were economically weak and politically unstable

B.     This enabled outside powers, notably Great Britain and the United States, to gain significant influence

C.     At times their influence was so strong it has been called “neocolonial”

1.Neocolonial powers do not take direct control

2.However, manage to control many of the most important economic resources

3.Influence local politics through bribes, threats, military action and close relationship with local elites

    II.            Role of Great Britain

A.    Becomes most powerful external political and economic force in most of Latin America before 1930s

B.     United States would challenge Great Britain mainly in North America and Caribbean

1.Success of United States against Mexico in 1840s encourages many countries to seek British ties

2.Little U.S. influence in South America prior to 1900

C.     Britain needed raw materials and markets

1.British took immediate interest in aftermath of independence wars

2.But burned in speculation bubble that developed (and burst)

3.Political turmoil in Latin America limited British investment until Liberal ascendency in 1860s and 1870s.

D.    Early strong relationship with Brazil

1.Relationship with Portuguese royals meant Brazil opened to British merchants shortly after royal family arrived

2. Brazil’s stability facilitated investment, and Britain quickly become largest outside investor

 III.            Role of United States

A.    United States does not challenge British preeminence until after World War I

B.     Early on, whittles away at periphery of older empires

1.Purchases Louisiana from France

2.Purchases Florida from Spain

C.     United States one of first countries to recognize Latin American independence, in 1822-23

D.    Issues Monroe Doctrine in 1823

1.Informs European powers that the United States stands against re-colonization of new Latin American countries

2.United States lacks resources to enforce it

3.Effectively enforced by Great Britain, who does not want see re-colonization either

E.     Mexican-American War 1846-48

1.Annexation of Texas initiates a border dispute

2.United States (under Polk) uses dispute as excuse to seize what is now U.S. Southwest

3.Mexico unable to respond properly due to lack of cooperation among elites and regional revolts

F.      United States will involve itself in isthmian travel as early as 1849 gold rush

a.       Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) establishes a railroad line across Nicaragua

b.      American efforts at developing a canal would not success until early 1900s.