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Synopsis

Marking the centennial of Panama's separation from Colombia in 1903, this volume reprises U.S. images of the isthmus a century ago. The editors have collected a fascinating selection of articles from two of the most influential publications of the era, Harper's Monthly Magazine and the Atlantic Monthly, to illustrate the prejudices and expansionistic rhetoric of the time. An eclectic mix of adventure-seekers, naturalists, scientists, scholars, and travellers all helped a reading public in the United States 'discover' Panama and the tropics. Their writings show the long evolution of the U.S. debate on the question of Panama and how Americans came to believe control of the isthmus was vital to their economic and political wellbeing. Constituting critically important primary sources, which are virtually unknown among students and scholars today, the articles highlight the intersection of politics, history, technology, and commercial interests in the region. By introducing and organizing these long-forgotten essays in cohesive thematic sections, this book will help readers think more critically and carefully about U.S. foreign policy and the ongoing legacy in U.S.-Latin American relations.

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