The Untold Story of US Imperialism in Latin America: Decoding its Foreign Policy and Influence

During imperialism, the US foreign policy in Latin America was characterized by a combination of economic dominance, military interventions, and political manipulation. The United States sought to protect its economic interests, primarily involving the extraction of resources, while also attempting to exert influence and control over the political affairs of Latin American countries.

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During imperialism, the US foreign policy in Latin America was marked by a variety of actions aimed at exerting control and influence over the region. The United States pursued economic dominance, which primarily revolved around the extraction of resources and the expansion of American markets. Additionally, military interventions and political manipulation were used to further American interests and maintain control over Latin American countries.

One key aspect of US foreign policy in Latin America during imperialism was the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine in the early 19th century. The doctrine stated that the United States would consider any European attempts to colonize or interfere in Latin American nations as a threat to its own security and would respond accordingly. This policy effectively established the United States as the dominant power in the region and allowed for future intervention and influence.

Economic dominance played a central role in US foreign policy. American companies sought to exploit the natural resources and markets of Latin America, contributing to the development of what has been termed “dollar diplomacy.” The United States often used economic leverage and financial control to secure favorable business conditions and gain preferential access to resources. For example, the United Fruit Company, a major American corporation, held significant influence in countries such as Honduras and Guatemala, shaping their political and economic landscapes.

Military interventions were also a recurrent feature of US foreign policy in Latin America. The United States justified these interventions as measures to protect its economic and security interests or to promote democratic stability. Notable examples include the Spanish-American War, where the United States gained control of Puerto Rico and the Philippines, as well as military interventions in Cuba, Panama, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic.

Political manipulation was another tactic used by the United States to secure its influence in Latin America. This involved supporting or overthrowing governments and promoting leaders who were seen as compatible with American interests. The United States often supported military regimes or dictators who would ensure stability and be favorable to American economic objectives. A famous case of political manipulation was the United States’ support for the 1973 coup in Chile, which ousted democratically-elected President Salvador Allende and brought General Augusto Pinochet to power.

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In assessing US foreign policy in Latin America during imperialism, it is important to reflect on the consequences and the perspectives of those affected. Former Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz, whose government was overthrown by a US-backed coup in 1954, eloquently described the situation:

“Basically, the problem of Guatemala’s relations with the United States is the problem of the chicken and the elephant. No matter how friendly the elephant may be, the chicken is ever mindful of the danger of being crushed by a single step.”


  1. The Panama Canal stands as a significant example of US intervention and control in Latin America during imperialism. The United States supported Panama’s separation from Colombia in order to secure exclusive control over the canal construction and operation.
  2. The United States conducted military interventions in Nicaragua multiple times throughout the 20th century, with notable interventions led by the US Marines in 1912 and 1926-1933.
  3. The Roosevelt Corollary, an extension of the Monroe Doctrine, asserted the United States’ right to intervene in the internal affairs of Latin American countries to maintain stability and protect its interests. This policy justified multiple military interventions in the region.
  4. The Good Neighbor Policy, introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s, aimed to improve US-Latin American relations and reduce military intervention. However, it did not entirely end US interventionism in the region.


Aspects Description
Economic Dominance US companies pursued resource extraction and market expansion in Latin America.
Military Interventions The United States used military force to protect its interests and ensure stability.
Political Manipulation American support for or overthrow of governments to align with its interests.
Monroe Doctrine Established US dominance in the region and opposition to European interference.
Panama Canal US-backed Panama’s separation from Colombia to control the canal.
Nicaragua Interventions US military interventions in Nicaragua in the early 20th century.
Roosevelt Corollary Extension of the Monroe Doctrine, justifying US intervention in Latin America.
Good Neighbor Policy An attempt to improve US-Latin American relations, reducing military intervention.

Video response to your question

This video discusses American intervention in Latin America, particularly focusing on the late 1800s and early 1900s. The lecture covers important historical events, such as the issuance of the Monroe Doctrine by President James Monroe in 1823. It highlights how the US began enforcing this doctrine after the Spanish-American War, using military and economic interventions. Theodore Roosevelt played a significant role in this intervention and introduced the Roosevelt Corollary, which allowed the US to intervene in Latin American countries if their policies threatened American interests. Notable examples of American intervention include the construction of the Panama Canal and interventions in countries like New Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. Ultimately, the US aimed to protect its commercial and political interests in the region.

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There are other points of view available on the Internet

U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America in the 19th century initially focused on excluding or limiting the military and economic influence of European powers, territorial expansion, and encouraging American commerce. These objectives were expressed in the No Transfer Principle (1811) and the Monroe Doctrine (1823).

Surely you will be interested in these topics

Thereof, What was the US policy in Latin America during imperialism? Answer: American Imperialism in Latin America and the Caribbean
The U.S. decided to become a police force over Latin America and the Caribbean to protect American interests. This particular brand of American imperialism focused on maintaining U.S. economic domination more than colonizing territories.

What American foreign policy was imperialism? Answer: American imperialism is the expansion of American political, economic, cultural, media and military influence beyond the boundaries of the United States.

What is the USA’s foreign policy towards Latin America today? Response to this: In October 2022, the Administration issued its National Security Strategy, which laid out three broad U.S. priorities for the Western Hemisphere—expanding economic opportunities, strengthening democracy, and building security—that reflect long-standing continuity with U.S. policy for the region.

Thereof, How did the US justify imperialism in Latin America?
The response is: Many American policymakers believed that they could control outer lying regions of the globe through economic means. American economic domination meant that the United States could indirectly control the internal affairs of other sovereign nations without resorting to colonial administration or military action.

How did American imperialism affect Latin America and the Caribbean?
Response to this: American imperialism attempted to protect American interests in foreign countries. Learn how American imperialism affected Latin America and the Caribbean through the Platt Amendment, the Roosevelt Corollary, Dollar Diplomacy and Missionary Diplomacy, and the creation of the Panama Canal. Updated: 09/21/2021

Accordingly, What is US policy on Latin America – United States relations?
The answer is: There are two broad schools of thought on Latin America–United States relations: The "establishment" school which sees US policy towards Latin America as an attempt to exclude extraterritorial rivals from the hemisphere as a way to defend the United States.

Also Know, What are some examples of imperialistic foreign policies?
Answer: Professor Christopher E. Manning of Loyola University of Chicago walks through the developments of American imperialistic foreign policies such as the Open Door Policy, Roosevelt Corollary, creation and displaying of the Great White Fleet, and dollar diplomacy. The United States advanced an open-door policy to promote free and open trade in China.

Secondly, Why did the United States adopt a pan-americanism policy? Response to this: The United States wished to improve relations with its Latin American neighbors in a time of increasing international conflict. Giving up unpopular military intervention, the United States implemented its policy of Pan-Americanism to maintain its influence.

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Furthermore, How did imperialism affect Latin America? US imperialism in Latin America has had a devastating impact on the region over the past two centuries. It has also profoundly shaped US domestic politics during the same period. Historian Greg Grandin discusses this squalid history in his book Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Making of an Imperial Republic.

Simply so, Why did the United States intervene in Latin America in 1939? The response is: That amendment gave the United States the right to intervene whenever it wanted, which it did several times. By 1939, it was clear that this approach was doing nothing to consolidate US power in Latin America and was in fact radicalizing the hemisphere and generating antagonism toward the United States.

Also Know, What are some examples of imperialistic foreign policies? Response will be: Professor Christopher E. Manning of Loyola University of Chicago walks through the developments of American imperialistic foreign policies such as the Open Door Policy, Roosevelt Corollary, creation and displaying of the Great White Fleet, and dollar diplomacy. The United States advanced an open-door policy to promote free and open trade in China.

Secondly, Why did the US intervene in the Caribbean?
The reply will be: The policy stated that the United States reserved the right to intervene in the conflicts between Caribbean or Latin American countries and Europe. Roosevelt thought the policy was necessary because the economic instability of some countries in the region tempted European nations to reassert their power over their former colonies.

Interesting information about the subject

Thematic fact: It makes up 13 percent of the land surface area of the world. It covers the areas of 7,412,000 square miles or 19,197,000 km square. The name of the continent was coined by France in 19th century. Facts about Latin America will tell the readers about the group of countries and states located in Americas. It is dominated by the Romance languages.
Thematic fact: The Latin America map features rivers of great natural importance. The largest river in Latin America is the Amazonas (Amazon river). It flows from Peru to Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and the Brazilian Atlantic shores. Latin America’s largest lake is Lago Maracaibo in Venezuela.
Theme Fact: Despite being the only North American country that is part of Latin America, Mexico is one of the region’s largest and most important nations. Mexico is the largest source not only of Latin American immigrants, but of all immigrants to the U.S. Central America is comprised of seven countries, six of which are Spanish-speaking.
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