Latin America (Classic Reprint)

Latin America (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from Latin America

Increasingly intimate relations between the United States and the countries of Latin America will be one of the striking features of the next few decades. Since the days when these sister republics began their independent existence a century ago, their people and our own have been neighbors to Europe, but strangers to each other. Happily this period of mutual isolation has now come to an end.

The reasons for this separation of a hundred years are not hard to find. The United States was absorbed in its own internal development and gave little thought to other countries, least of all to those with whom it had no necessary association. As an agricultural land it exported surplus raw materials - wheat, com, meat and cotton - to England, France and Germany, and received in return the best grades of manufactured goods. A rapidly swelling stream of immigration maintained some connection with these older nations across the Atlantic. The diplomacy of the United States was largely limited to problems concerning either Europe or the lands immediately beyond our borders. The large tourist class of today did not exist during most of this period; even the relatively few who went abroad for sightseeing had no desire to visit countries which they regarded as primitive, sparsely settled and racked by constant revolutions. In fact there was nothing which tended to bring the United States and South America into close contact.

Latin America, also, found no common ties during the past century to bind it to this country. Although it was strongly influenced by North American precedents in its revolt against Spain and in the form of its national constitutions the connection between the two sections went no further. Like the United States the rapidly developing republics of the South sent their raw materials to Europe and bought manufactured goods in return.

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