Yanqui Politics and the Isthmian Canal

Yanqui Politics and the Isthmian Canal

Yanqui Politics and the Isthmian Canal

Yanqui Politics and the Isthmian Canal

Excerpt

During the course of several years of research into the history of Panama and of writing about the isthmus and the canal, I have been intrigued by the frequency with which the subject of an interoceanic canal became a matter of political action and controversy in the United States. The dream of an American "bridge of water" between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans was not finally realized until after an intense partisan battle had been waged by the advocates of two competing routes. In recent years the combined issues of Panamanian nationalism and the need for a new waterway to replace or supplement the present outmoded Panama Canal have reactivated political controversy not only in the United States but also in the Republic of Panama. Consequently, I decided to pursue the political theme which unites the story of the various interoceanic canal projects, past and present. This is a fresh approach to a subject which has inspired an almost endless mass of published material.

For nearly three centuries before the American Revolutionary War, the possibility of an interoceanic canal in the New World aroused the interest of European leaders. Such a project also attracted the attention of post-Revolutionary American political figures including Franklin and Jefferson. This ambitious scheme was not realized, however, until the United States had taken its place as a world power -- and then only after the necessary technological and material resources had united with a favorable political climate. And now, decades after the realization of a centuries-old dream, momentous problems still revolve around the Panama Canal. The pressing need for a new canal and the surge of Panamanian nationalism have initiated still another cycle of political crises which have not yet been resolved.

The main purpose of this book is to provide a comprehensive chronology of the political issues surrounding the Panama Canal . . .

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