Vested Rights and Nationalism in Latin-America

Courtesy Reuters

THE advance of American business interests into Central and South America has now reached a point where it may soon become necessary to formulate a policy as momentous as the Monroe Doctrine itself. This new policy is now in the making. The problem which it is meant to solve is the conflict between the vested rights of Americans in the natural resources of the Caribbean countries and the rising nationalism of their peoples. The problem could not have arisen before Americans had acquired titles to important properties and had invested large sums of money in developing them; nor could the problem have arisen while government of these countries was in the hands of a ruling class which conceived its interests to be those of the foreign owners of natural resources. The establishment of large American interests at a time when nationalist feeling has begun to run high has created the situation which now perplexes us in Mexico and may perplex us tomorrow in Venezuela, Colombia and elsewhere.

This is not a simple problem. We have become exporters of capital, and we are called upon to decide what is to be the attitude of the United States Government towards that exported capital when a foreign government subjects the property of American citizens to new and drastic social regulation.


Until quite recently the clear and dominating purpose of American policy has been to find national security. The declaration of President Monroe in his message of December 2, 1823, was a development of the original rule laid down by Washington that "in extending our commercial relations (with foreign nations) we have with them as little political connection as possible." When in May, 1823, France, acting under a commission from the Congress of Verona, put Ferdinand back upon the throne of Spain, and when Russia at the same time was advancing from Alaska down the western coast of this continent, the United States was threatened on two sides by an entanglement with the Europe of Metternich. It

Loading, please wait...

This article is a part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, please subscribe.

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.