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Explain the Monroe doctrine, dollar diplomacy and big stick policy with reference to imperialism in South America.


Explain the Monroe doctrine, dollar diplomacy and big stick policy with reference to imperialism in South America.


  • Give a brief introduction about imperialism in South America.
  • Explain Monroe doctrine, dollar diplomacy and big stick policy.
  • Conclude appropriately.
Model Answer :

The United States in the 19th century extended her territories through war with Mexico and purchase of Louisiana, Florida and Alaska from France, Spain and Russia respectively. Within a short period after the civil war (1861-65), the US emerged as a major industrial and military power in the world. During the period from 1890s to the early years of 20th century, it spread its control over South America also.

Various policies adopted by United States in South America are:

  • Monroe doctrine- The Monroe Doctrine (named after President James Monroe) of 1823 was a United States’ policy of opposing European interference in the affairs of the newly independent Latin American states or potential United States territories. It added that US would not interfere in the internal concerns of the European countries. US used this doctrine to control vast territory in the South America. Different presidents of US modified this doctrine for their gains, like Roosevelt in 1904.
  • Big Stick Policy- The policy was popularized and named by President Theodore Roosevelt that asserted U.S. domination when such dominance was considered the moral imperative. It was used by the US, acting as the international policeman, to assert its domination in various parts of Americas. Example: In 1909, American troops were sent to Nicaragua in support of a revolt which had been inspired by an American mining company.
  • Dollar diplomacy- The extension of the US influence through economic investments in the region is known as the ‘Dollar diplomacy’. The economic and political domination of South America was facilitated by the absence of strong governments in the countries of South America. Many of these countries were ruled by corrupt military leaders with armed gangs.

By early 20th century most of the countries of the South America, though politically independent, came under the economic and political control of the United States.

Subjects : History – World

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