chapter  4
6 Pages

The Expansion of American Power

Historians and political scientists alike suggest that the end of the nineteenth century marked the beginning of U.S. imperialist policies toward Latin America, increased hegemony over the region, and dominance over states near the U.S. border. Since much of the tension in U.S.–Latin American relations is rooted in this period of history, it bears close scrutiny. An imperialist policy is one that reflects a systematic attempt by one state to establish an empire-a geopolitical

arrangement whereby one state extends dominion over populations beyond its borders that are culturally and ethnically distinct from its own. Beginning in 1898, notes historian Lester Langley, the United States adopted policies toward the Caribbean and Central America, plus Hawaii and the Philippines that would “define the political, economic, and even legal basis of an insular empire that stretched from the Caribbean to the western Pacific.”1