Graduation Year

Spring 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Roderic Camp

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2012 Samuel Mitchell


Why has the United States frequently intervened in the affairs of Latin American governments? How have the motivations changed over time, and how have they stayed the same? Are American Presidents more motivated by economic or political threats to hegemony? What methods has the United States used to maintain its dominance over the Western Hemisphere, and how have they changed?

This paper seeks to address all of these questions, using a full historical examination as well as the case study of Salvador Allende's Chile. Drawing upon numerous scholars' work as well as individual research and investigation, this paper seeks to prove the following hypotheses: Since the creation of the Monroe Doctrine, which marked America’s entry into regional foreign affairs as a major player, the United States has acted upon a self-created moral imperative and entitlement to dominate the Americas. The motivation behind the indispensable maintenance of hegemony is as much symbolic as concrete. Many factors such as the threat of communism or European influence have been used as justification for American meddling. In fact, the main motivations are economic control of the hemisphere and the perception of American ideological supremacy among Latin American people (most importantly political leaders), not the spread of democracy or the promotion of human rights. Earlier in the United States' history, military intervention was more commonly used to achieve the aforementioned goals. With the onset of the Cold War, covert operations, equally potent, became increasingly prevalent. The following chapters present a story of the United States constantly positioning itself to be in the sole position of dominance (economic, political, and ideological) in the region of the Americas.