Confronting the American Dream: Nicaragua under U.S. by Michel Gobat

By Michel Gobat

Michel Gobat deftly interweaves political, financial, cultural, and diplomatic heritage to investigate the reactions of Nicaraguans to U.S. intervention of their nation from the heyday of happen future within the mid–nineteenth century in the course of the U.S. career of 1912–33. Drawing on broad examine in Nicaraguan and U.S. documents, Gobat debts for 2 seeming paradoxes that experience lengthy eluded historians of Latin the United States: that Nicaraguans so strongly embraced U.S. political, financial, and cultural types to guard their very own nationality opposed to U.S. imposition and that the country’s wealthiest and such a lot Americanized elites have been reworked from top supporters of U.S. imperial rule into a few of its maximum opponents.

Gobat focuses totally on the reactions of the elites to Americanization, as the strength and identification of those Nicaraguans have been the main considerably plagued by U.S. imperial rule. He describes their adoption of features of “the American lifestyle” within the mid–nineteenth century as strategic instead of wholesale. Chronicling the U.S. profession of 1912–33, he argues that the anti-American flip of Nicaragua’s such a lot Americanized oligarchs stemmed mostly from the efforts of U.S. bankers, marines, and missionaries to unfold their very own model of the yankee dream. partly, the oligarchs’ reversal mirrored their discomfort over the Twenties upward push of Protestantism, the “modern woman,” and different “vices of modernity” emanating from the U.S.. however it additionally spoke back to the accidental ways in which U.S. modernization efforts enabled peasants to weaken landlord energy. Gobat demonstrates that the U.S. profession so profoundly affected Nicaragua that it helped engender the Sandino uprising of 1927–33, the Somoza dictatorship of 1936–79, and the Sandinista Revolution of 1979–90.


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France had joined Great Britain and the United States in seeking to control the Nicaraguan route. S. S. S. S. S. transients whose entrepreneurial spirit they so immensely admired. Indeed, they desired nothing more than to have North American harbingers of progress settle down and help ‘‘civilize’’ what many believed was Central America’s most ‘‘anarchic’’ nation. S. ∂≤ Most objected to the ways Vanderbilt’s transit company intervened in local a√airs. S. government’s failure to oppose British and Costa Rican encroachments on the projected canal route more forcefully.

Ideals of technological progress and enterprise. S. S. culture and trade but had to be violently subordinated if not physically exterminated. As Walker famously stated in his book The War in Nicaragua, ‘‘The history of the world presents no such Utopian vision as that of an inferior race yielding meekly and peacefully to the controlling influence of a superior people. Whenever barbarism and civilization . . ’’ And it was this faith that Walker and his men would brutally betray. The Initial Encounter Ever since the United States started expanding westward in the early nineteenth century, its government and citizens strove to exploit Nicaragua’s ideal 23 .

In addition to saving them from military service, this decree reinforced the autonomy of their communities, especially over labor. Walker’s apparent willingness to consider popular demands also helped him gain the trust of rural powerbrokers. Leaders of indigenous communities trekked from near and far to enlist Walker’s aid in their struggle for political, economic, and cultural autonomy. One case involved the indigenous community of Masatepe, then an important producer of tobacco and aguardiente.

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