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Download Prize Possession: The United States Government and the Panama Canal 1903-1979 epub

by John Major

Prize Possession is a comprehensive history of U.S. policy toward the Panama Canal between 1903 and 1979, focusing on five key themes: the Canal's defense and its place in American strategy; the Zone's autocratic system of government; its strictly segregated labor force; its commercial development at the expense of Panama; and the equally controversial issue of U.S. intervention in Panamanian politics. The book is based for the most part on the hitherto largely untapped sources of U.S. government agencies, namely the State, War, and Navy Departments, and the Canal Zone administration, as well as on the papers of notable dramatis personae such as Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt and Philippe Bunau-Varilla.
Download Prize Possession: The United States Government and the Panama Canal 1903-1979 epub
ISBN: 0521521262
ISBN13: 978-0521521260
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: John Major
Language: English
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (October 30, 2003)
Pages: 456 pages
ePUB size: 1917 kb
FB2 size: 1906 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 373
Other Formats: docx mbr doc rtf

During the US-Panama formation of bilateral foreign policy making, John Major researches a book that gives much attention to how the two nations came into co-existence and the great difficulties that followed. It was greatly unfortunate that "political semantics" took another form of how the US wish to maintain dominion over Panamanian politics. All political actors could not ignore the realities that at some point even political semantics and political theater runs its course. In particular and especially an event that changed the course of US-Panamanian politics. On January 9, 1964, flag riots in Panama made President Lyndon B. Johnson initiate and respond to taking political steps to how the future of US-Panama and US-Panama Canal would take shape. Panamanians were tired of Colombian exploitation for about 80 years (1821-1903) and even US domination from 1903-1999. It takes time for human beings to finally ask and raise the question, "Is this right and ethical, if not, why do we continue to do it?" It was time for Panama to have its own sovereignty without outside interference. Colombians can cry that Panama was a Colombian territory, which is a complete fabrication. Their interest were in the Panama Railroad and all the money Bogota would accumulate at the expense of all Panamanians. They took 90% of the money and left Panama with about 10%. They wanted the Panama Canal but when the French abandoned the project, they did nothing to complete it. All Panama wanted was to be free from Colombia, once and for all, permanently.
This is a good albeit flawed study. It is well-researched but some will question its conclusions, the direct ones and the subtle ones. The footnotes are good and reflect careful research. The index is comprehensive and useful. Nonetheless, this book errs on being unduly critical of the U. S. role and administration. One is hard pressed to find a less imperialistic nation than the United States. Look at the French, Belgium, English, Japanese, etc. imperial examples.

Specifically the book covers the years from 1904, when Panama with help from the U. S. separated from Colombia in November 1903, to 1979. The book also includes some useful information dating back several hundred years. The author points out that many European countries wanted access to the Isthmus of Panana, only fifty miles wide in some sections, for trade and imperialistic reasons. England, France, Spain and other European countries wanted to build and control a canal to unite the two oceans. It took the boisterous Theodore Roosevelt to do it. His actions have been widely condemned or praised by countless historians.

It is well to remember that had TR not acted, and I am not an apologist for him, Panama would have remained a neglected province of Colombia. Remember as well that Panama, along with four other Latin American nations, joined Gran Colombia voluntarily in the 1820s. It was quickly ignored and scorned by Colombia for the next 80 years. To wit: there were over 80 up risings, attempts at achieveing independence, against Colombia during those years. They were not happy campers and yes, they were ignored by the government in Bogota. Cognizant of European ambitions on Panama, one far thinking senator suggested that Colombia move its capital to Panama City to guarantee its continued sovernity over the Isthmus. It never happened and the senator lost his seat.

In an attempt to keep Europe at bay, Colombia signed a series of understandings with the U.S. to guarantee their hegemony over Panama. The U. S. even intervened or threatened to do so several times when Panama tried to establish their independence from Colombia. The U.S. wasn't pure either, it wanted to eventually build a canal in the region. Plus the Monroe Doctrince was still in full force. Colombia's experience highlights the danger of seeking a powerful protector -- they may take you over.

The book has five major themes. "The canal's defense and its place in America's strategy, the Zone's regimental system of government, its strictly segregated labour force, its commercial development at the expense of Panama, and the equally controversial issue of U.S. government intervention in Panamanian Politics."

Clearly, the author has a very biased and erroneous point of view. Too bad for it weakens his book and negates all the serious research he did. He should have been more balanced.

Dr. Mellander earned a Ph. D. in Latin American History from the George Washington University. He specialized in U.S.- Panamanian relations and wrote three books and many articles on Panama.