The relationship between the United States and Latin America dates back to the early 19th century. After the United States attained its independence in 1776, it sought to be isolated from the European powers which had colonized it. In 1880s, a policy known as big brother was formulated which was meant to put Latin American countries under the leadership of the United States. This policy was also meant to open markets for United States traders in Latin America. In 1823, the Monroe doctrine was also formulated. The main aim of this policy was to isolate the Americas from Europeans who had colonized it.
The doctrine outlined that the European powers which included the great Britain could no longer interfere with affairs of the independent Americas and that the united states could refrain from interfering with all other states mostly in the western hemisphere which were still under the European colonization. The doctrine however stated that if the European colonizers oppressed or controlled these states, this could have been treated as an aggression act prompting the interference of the United States (Community Geography Project, n. d).
During the time of formulation of the Monroe doctrine, United States was not having a credible army and navy and thus the doctrine was internationally disregarded. However, the British powers approved it which was enforced by the royal navy. During this era, the Latin American leaders who were realists viewed the Monroe doctrine as powerless especially against what was referred as the triple alliance. These leaders believed that their independence was to be determined by the Great Britain which was very powerful at that time.
The Great Britain’s support rather than the Monroe doctrine protected the Latin America’s sovereignty during this period. In 1836, Great Britain formed an alliance with republic of Texas which had newly been created. This led the United States to object citing the Monroe doctrine. James Polk who was the then president of the united states called for strict enforcement of the Monroe doctrine and declared that the united states could expand to eh western hemisphere. This was termed as the manifest destiny. This formed the first basis of United States’s active involvement in Latin America’s affairs.
The western expansion was then seen as a moral opposition to Britain’s colonialism by the United States but later translations have been made (Community Geography Project, n. d). United States’s involvement in Latin America was also experienced when Theodore Roosevelt the then president of United States declared that the United States could rightfully intervene in the economic affairs mostly of small nation located in Caribbean to stabilize them and to ensure that they were able to pay their debts. This was meant to stop the European powers who had lent these countries money from intervening.
In 1863, Mexico was invaded by French forces. This was termed as a violation of the Monroe doctrine but the United States was unable to defend it due to the civil war that was going on. However, the Britain forces withdrew in 1867 after the united sent troops to Mexico. The Monroe doctrine was extended in 1870 and it included a clause that no American colony could be transferred from amongst the European countries. It was further extended in 1895 to give the United States power to mediate all disputes regarding the borders in Latin America.
Drago doctrine was also formulated as a further extension of the Monroe doctrine and it prohibited all European powers from use of force while collecting debt from American nations. The Monroe doctrine which was initially regarded as unworkable made the United States to emerge as a super power by the wake of the 20th century. Addition of the Roosevelt corollary which gave United States right to intervene in cases of chronic wrongs by the Latin American nations gave the United States a wider footage in Latin America (Lemoine, 1997).