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The Empire TrapThe Rise and Fall of U.S. Intervention to Protect American Property Overseas, 1893-2013$
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Noel Maurer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155821

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155821.001.0001

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Setting the Trap

Setting the Trap

Chapter:
(p.58) Three Setting the Trap
Source:
The Empire Trap
Author(s):

Noel Maurer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691155821.003.0003

This chapter reviews the development of an informal American empire in the circum-Caribbean. Formal imperialism was off the table once it became clear that Congress could not be trusted to support investor interests in colonized territories, but the property rights of Americans continued to come under threat from a combination of feckless foreign governments and political instability. Under pressure from a coalition of direct investors in tropical enterprises and creditors to Latin American governments, Theodore Roosevelt used instability in the Dominican Republic to proclaim a de facto intervention sphere within which the U.S. would exercise an international police power in cases of “chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society.” The chapter shows how markets reacted to Roosevelt's declarations, factoring in American protection.

Keywords:   American empire, circum-Caribbean, imperialism, foreign governments, political instability, Theodore Roosevelt, Dominican Republic, American protection

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