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U.S. foreign policy in Latin America can be summarized from any high school textbook. In the earliest part of the nineteenth century, as Latin American nations asserted their independence from Spain, the United States insituted the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine stated that the United States would seek to dissuade European involvement in the Americas.
At the time, no one could have conceived that the United States would swiftly grow during the nineteenth century into an industrial and economic powerhouse. Before the Civil War, the U.S. had already conquered or annexed land from Mexico and by 1880, the United States developed a policy that sought to open up trade in Latin America (Lens and Zinn, 2003).
Later, Theodore Roosevelt expanded the Monroe Doctrine with his Corrolary to the Monroe Doctrine which further asserted American rights to intervene in Latin America. The turn of the Twentieth Century therefore witnessed both militaristic intervention and economic infiltration of Latin American markets. American corporations seeking sources of raw materials and new markets eventually helped create a dependency economy in Latin America. The U.S. regularly sent troops to protect economic interests during this period leading no doubt to some resentment which simmers to this day.
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