May, Ernest R.
July 1963
Foreign Affairs;Jul1963, Vol. 41 Issue 4, p757
Academic Journal
The article discusses the negligence suffered by Latin Americans by the hands of Americans in historical perspective. Americans have been indifferent to Latin America is accurate only in a foreshortened or unduly lengthened time perspective. If one takes the whole of American history, one could make such a case. From the seventeenth century until the early nineteenth, North Americans paid little attention to Latin America. Ship captains sailed there, leaving Bibles, Protestant tracts, and, later, copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. A few founding fathers, such as Alexander Hamilton, thought of some day building a rival empire; a few other Americans played host to visitors like Francisco de Miranda who talked of setting Spanish colonies free; and when revolutions for independence actually came, some hailed them and proposed giving aid. The article assumes that up to now Americans have been indifferent to Latin America; that, in so far as they have not, the results have been bad-- that the record in Latin America is one in which neither U.S. Government nor private interests can take pride. One of the most learned men of the New Frontier, former Harvard law professor Abram Chayes, now the State Department Legal Adviser, has said that the condition of Latin America today is in some measure a consequence of this prolonged neglect.


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